PEARL HARBOR (NNS) — Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Pacific kicked off Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with a May Day celebration, May 9.
“Today, we pause and reflect on our friendship and camaraderie, and take time to appreciate and enjoy Hawaii’s culture,” said NAVFAC Pacific Commander Rear Adm. Scott Weikert. “It’s important to embrace and learn about the local values and customs because we are all members of this wonderful and diverse community.”
The national theme of this year’s heritage month is “Building Leadership: Embracing Cultural Values and Inclusion,” and the May Day celebration provided that opportunity for employees to embrace diversity, celebrate the Hawaiian culture and experience its traditions.
One learning opportunity featured exhibits showcasing several replicas of artifacts found in the Pacific, including models of native Hawaiian artifacts. The display allowed employees to learn more about NAVFAC’s cultural resource mission and how it ties into its construction operations.
Another educational opportunity was learning how to make a lei, which is commonly used in Hawaii. The instruction was taught by volunteers within the workforce.
In addition to educational opportunities, a lei-making contest and assortments of local and international foods were available. Entertainment performed by a magician and local live band put many smiles on the faces of those who participated.
“The event had a perfect balance from start to finish,” said Chantel Foster, NAVFAC Pacific administrative support assistant. “It gives me a simple reminder that we come from an incredible place with special people. It is the Aloha spirit.”
According to HawaiiHistory.org, Lei Day became an official holiday in 1929. During those first years the event included the selection of a Lei Day queen and court. Lei Day celebrations continue today, marking the first day of May with lei-making competitions, concerts, and the giving and receiving of lei among friends and family.
For more news from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navfachq/.