Keesler Celebrates Asian-Pacific Heritage

BILOXI (WLOX) -- It was a feast for Asian food lovers and a feast for the eyes. On Wednesday, hundreds of South Mississippians immersed themselves in the ethnic costumes, authentic cuisine, and cultures.

"That is in my opinion why America is the greatest nation, and always will be the greatest nation on earth," said Col. Richard Pierce, Vice Wing Commander of Keesler AFB. "We accept all cultures, and we blend them all together into a rich diversity."

That diversity can be seen in the graceful dances and the disciplined art of Tae Kwon Do. The goal of the Asian-Pacific American Heritage celebration at Keesler was to break down any cultural and language barriers.

"We'd like to have more people knowing about our culture, whether it's Vietnam, or Philippines," said Lucy Belles, President of the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Committee. "Everybody needs to know, to be diverse. People need to understand each other."

"My mother is Japanese, and my father was Irish," said Col. Pierce. "So I had both a European and Asian ancestry brought together. So I feel absolutely blessed to be an American."

Learning about each other's differences is a big step toward tolerance and appreciation.

Trang Pham-Bui was the guest speaker at the luncheon. She shared more pictures and stories about growing up in Vietnam, and how her family escaped Communism and adjusted to life in America.

By: Trang Pham-Bui