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NEWS | May 29, 2019

BAMC celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander heritage

By Jason W. Edwards Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

Patients, staff and family members celebrated Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month at a ceremony in Brooke Army Medical Center’s Medical Mall at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston May 23.

“I’ve always said our nation’s strength is our diversity,” said Brig. Gen. George Appenzeller, BAMC commanding general. “What other place in the world can say that?”

Army Maj. Jessica Higa, BAMC neuropsychology fellow and guest speaker for the ceremony, elaborated on that strength in diversity.

“If we look around, if we really open our eyes, be present in this moment, you will see the diversity that’s here in this area and throughout this hospital,” Higa said. “Every single one of us has our own story. We all have our own experience.”

Higa went on to discuss how diversity and inclusiveness are key to humanity.

“This powerful message is for all of us,” Higa said. “It’s not just May. It is not just for Asian Pacific Islanders.

“As I walk these hallways every day, sometimes at night, I see it,” she added. “It’s interactions between people, between generations, between men and women, service members and veterans. This is what unites us. This is our unity.”

Attendees were also treated to a ukulele performance by Timothy Kanoia Kamaka.

Kamaka performed Hawaiian standards, as well as his own interpretation of pop stars, such as Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry.

Command Sgt. Major Thomas Oates, BAMC command sergeant major, closed the ceremony.

“We have ordinary people that walk the halls of BAMC,” Oates said. “But when you invest in those ordinary people, you add something extra to the ordinary, they become extraordinary.”