Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, 2008 A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
Americans who trace their ancestry to Asia and the Pacific Islands have contributed much to our Nation. During Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, we highlight their importance to our great Nation.
Asian/Pacific Americans have made our country better with their talents and hard work. Their values and commitment to family and community have helped shape and strengthen America. These citizens speak many languages, honor countless traditions, and practice different faiths, but they are bound by a shared commitment to freedom and liberty. The diversity among Asian/Pacific Americans adds to the cultural fabric of our society.
Asian/Pacific Americans have enriched our culture, excelling in many fields, including education, business, science, technology, government, sports, and the arts. We especially honor those Asian/Pacific Americans who have answered the call to protect the cause of freedom by serving in our Armed Forces. These brave men and women set a powerful example for all Americans.
As we celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, we are reminded of the richness of the Asian and Pacific cultures. Asian/Pacific Americans enhance the American experience and contribute to our country's legacy of diversity. To honor the achievements and contributions of Asian/Pacific Americans, the Congress, by Public Law 102-450, as amended, has designated the month of May each year as "Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 2008 as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. I call upon the people of the United States to learn more about the history of Asian/Pacific Americans and their many contributions to our Nation and to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.
GEORGE W. BUSH
I am Vietnamese American. For the majority of my life, I admit that I was ashamed of my heritage and denied anything that smelled, tasted, sounded or looked Vietnamese. When I was two years old, I fled my motherland a few days before Saigon fell in 1975. I was fortunate to arrive to the United States with my ten-year-old brother and three teenage cousins. My brother and I were placed in foster homes and were later adopted into a Caucasian family and raised in a predominantly Caucasian community.
With my almond-shaped eyes, round face, and dark skin, I didn't want to look or be "different" from any of my blue-eyed, blonde-haired classmates. Then in 1994, when I returned to Vietnam for the first time in almost 20 years, a miracle happened that would change my life forever - I not only found my long-lost extended family, but I also found my long-lost self! Since that auspicious day, I have come into my own and have embraced my heritage and the many customs that I hope to pass to my unborn child. I can identify with thousands of other Asian Pacific Americans who've lost their loved ones or have made extraordinary sacrifices for their families to succeed in America. I am grateful for the many opportunities that I've been given throughout my life, and I'm also blessed to work for a Company that empowers me to reach out and to support the passions and issues that Asian Pacific American communities share throughout the country.
During the month of May, Southwest will be celebrating the many Asian Pacific American customs, accomplishments, and activities with you and will support various organizations and events across the country. Those include Asian Pacific Islander American Vote, Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and the 24th Annual Los Angeles Asian Film Festival to name a few. We hope you and your families enjoy the many rich smells, sights, and sounds of all Asian Pacific American cultures during this exciting month!