USAMMDA Hosts Heritage Event
The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity recently hosted the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month event at the Community Activities Center, Fort Detrick. This event was an opportunity to share and educate the Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage.
"Nǐ hǎo, Kon'nichiwa, Annyeonghaseyo, S̄wạs̄dī krap, Aloha," was the greeting Col. William Geesey, commander of USAMMDA used to welcome the audience. Geesey made opening remarks and shared his personal experiences with Asian Pacific cultural heritage. In his greeting he reflected on 'spending many a Chinese New Year in San Francisco, California watching the Chinese New Year's parade'.
"The orchards where I grew up were first planted by early Japanese settlers and I had an American-born high school teacher that was interned during the Second World War with his Japanese American parents," said Geesey. "I've spent nearly eight years of my Army career living in Asia between four different overseas tours and am married to an Asian American."
It was clear Geesey held a personal appreciation for this culture and heritage.
This year's guest speaker was Elizabeth Chung, executive director for the Asian American center of Frederick. Chung tied personal stories and experiences to this year's theme, 'walk together, embrace differences, build legacies'.
Chung shared a remarkable story about her husband, who lived his entire early life as a village boy, in a paper house that swayed when the wind blew. He actually would wheel a barrow of vegetables home and did not learn English until after he moved to America. Her husband today is an U.S. citizen that works as an orthopedic surgeon.
Talk about achieving the American Dream.
"This nation was built by immigrants," said Chung. Just imagine the diversity where over 700,000 people become American citizens every year. The ability to embrace these new citizens directly affects our countries prosperity and future.
"I am humbled and honored to celebrate my past, present and future," stated Chung.
As the theme of the event stated, just as Chung described, for our nation to walk together we must embrace our differences and build the legacies for our future.