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Let there be no doubt that these kinds of celebrations are wonderful, fun, and highly recommended.

At the same time, we should also keep in mind what it is we're really celebrating.

In other words, what does it mean to be proud of one's Asian American heritage?

For me, celebrating my APA heritage means lots of things. The point is that I feel very fortunate to have two sets of cultures to enjoy -- American and Vietnamese.

First, I am proud that the history of my ancestors goes back 20 generations -- twice as long as the U. Rather than divide my identity in half, these two sets of experiences double my understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the world around me.

Second, I'm proud to share in the accomplishments of all Asian Americans before me.

By learning about a person's religion or spiritual beliefs, you can get a better sense of his or her value system and motivation. Get as many members of your family together in one place and just enjoy each other's company.

While living in India Michael Beste became fascinated by the arts and traditions of the country and its peoples.

Collecting antique art, says Gianfranco Rossi, is like being a lover, to which he adds: and with my life partner Elisabetta Parmegiani we managed to find the fine line between high quality curation and in-depth appreciation of Asian art.

APA Heritage Month was first established in 1977 when Representatives Frank Horton and Norman Mineta and Senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced resolutions asking the President to declare the first ten days of May (the month when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the U. Asian Americans and non-Asians usually celebrate by eating at Asian restaurants or attending one of the numerous APA Heritage festivals or parades organized each May by Asian American community organizations, where they can taste the different foods from various Asian countries, watch cultural performances, and learn more about Asian American history and culture.

In 1978 President Carter made it an annual event and in 1990, President George H. Bush proclaimed the entire month of May to be Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

That includes those who are well-known and famous who worked to shatter the old myths and stereotypes against us, like Bruce Lee, members of the 442nd Regimental Unit in World War II, and Maxine Hong Kingston -- and those who remain relatively obscure in the realms of history but whose accomplishments are no less impressive and inspiring.

These include the Chinese miners who died building the Transcontinental Railroad, the Japanese Americans who endured their illegal imprisonment during World War II, and everyday Asian immigrant families who work tirelessly to improve their lives and build a future for their children. Do you get picked on because you're Asian Pacific American?

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