Story and photos by Rick Emert
Mountain Post community members got a taste of Polynesia May 28 during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month observance at Ironhorse Park.
The event included a comedian, Polynesian dancers and samplings of Asian Pacific cuisine that included a 150-pound roasted pig.
One of the event’s hosts, Staff Sgt. Janhom Lucas, Division West (First Army), spoke of her life as a young girl in Thailand in the 1970s, when the country was still under a dictatorship.
“You were forced to leave, to run away,” Lucas said. “It is an honor to be an American citizen.”
Comedian Ron McGehee, who is half Korean and half Irish, had the audience laughing with his material about his Korean mother and growing up as an Asian-American.
The Pacific Pride and Island Hearts dance company performed eight elaborate traditional dances from Hawaii, Tahiti and Samoa.
In remarks at the conclusion of the entertainment, Col. B. Shannon Davis, deputy senior commander and chief of staff, Fort Carson, said the event reminded him of his two tours in Hawaii.
“That brought back some fond memories,” Davis said. “This has been remarkable as we have celebrated the history, heritage and achievements of the Asian Pacific Islander descent. With observances like these, we affirm our appreciation and respect for the traditions and way of life that people from different cultures and backgrounds bring to the table to make our nation great.”
The audience lined up for the sampling of Asian Pacific cuisine, but the dances appeared to be the most popular part of the observance.
“I really enjoyed it. It was a great program,” said Spc. Larry Simpson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company,
3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. “I learned a lot about the culture and dances of Asian Pacific Islanders. The dances really made it interesting for me.”
Simpson said he attends many of the ethnic observances held on Fort Carson.
“I come to a lot of these to learn about different cultures that make up the United States and the Army. The Army is very diverse,” Simpson said.