Islanders in military share culture in Iraq cultural eventCelebration honors Soldier diversity
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq -- Many nations, many cultures, one celebration honoring those who serve in and support the Army from the South Pacific regions, no matter what generation they represent.
This was the goal for the 2010 Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration at the Contingency Operating Base Adder Memorial Hall. Music and dancing was offered to all, as well as food steeped in rich cultures from the Pacific Islands.
Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand (Aotearoa) and Samoa
were all represented during the celebration by Soldiers, Airmen and contractors with heritage from the Pacific Island region who performed.
"This is about sharing our culture and who we are with everyone who wants to take part," said Sgt. John Yang, a native of Sinamoga, Western Samoa, and the supply non-commissioned officer-in-charge for Company C, 412th Aviation Support Battalion, Task Force 12.
Yang explained that most people from the island region are extremely tolerant and very open and inviting to all, no matter who they are or where they are from.
He added the COB Adder celebration was designed to capture that spirit of Pacific Islander hospitality
, where feasts, games, sports and all manner of social mingling can be found at virtually any celebration.
Photo Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Dehart.
The male performers help one another get into traditional garb during their practice in preparation for the big celebration Memorial Hall on Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq.
Charlene Maneafaiga places a necklace, called an "ula nifo," on one of the dancers before their practice in preparation for the big celebration at Memorial Hall on Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq. The ula nifo is a traditional Samoan necklace; 'ula' meaning 'necklace' and 'nifo' meaning 'tooth.' Traditionally, these necklaces were made from the teeth of sperm whales that were split and ground down into curved and pointed pendants.