GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
May is the month to observe Asian American Heritage. It has been changed and revised over the years to become the month of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage.
In 1977 representatives proposed two separate resolutions that would designate a week in May to be APAH, neither of these resolutions passed. In 1978, a new resolution was proposed, and in October President Jimmy Carter signed that proposal into public law. It was not until 1990 that the observance was expanded to include the entire month. Now it also includes all of the Pacific Islands as well.
The reason May was chosen as the month to observe this heritage references the history of America. The first Japanese immigrants arrived on May 7, 1843. The transcontinental railroad was completed in May of 1869, the majority of workers being Chinese immigrants.
“I didn’t know that it was in the month of May,” said Philippines native, Airman 1st Class Ivan Esguerra, 17th Communications Squadron network operations technician. “Once I started looking into it I realized how it has been expanded, and that is really cool to include all of these cultures.”
Born in Angeles City, Philippines, Esguerra traveled extensively due to his stepfather being in the Air Force. Esguerra recalled one of the main reasons he joined the Air Force was his stepfather, retired Master Sgt. Douglas Jarman.
“I have lived in many different places because of my step dad,” said Esguerra. “It has a lot of pros, but a con I didn’t think about until I got older is how difficult it can be to keep in mind the group you are in and do the right thing according to their culture.”
Esguerra recounted how he lived in the Philippines until he was about three years old. From there his mother and he moved to Korea then back the Philippines. After his mother married his stepfather, they traveled often while overseas.
“I have been lucky enough to have a lot of traveling before I even joined,” said Esguerra. “And as I have traveled and met people I have taken on a lot of their habits, sort of like a melting pot of cultures.”
Goodfellow Air Force Base’s 2018 theme for Asian American Pacific Islanders Heritage ‘This is Us’ signifies how Goodfellow is proud to acknowledge and honor the different branches and individuals in those branches.