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What is it About May?

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I confess. I always get a little giddy in May. Maybe it’s because the longer, warmer days of May mark the impending arrival of summer, my absolute favorite season. Yes, I am one of the rare lovers of brutally hot, humid DC summers. Or maybe May brings out the giddiness in me because I admire all the stately trees and brightly colored flowers that seem to appear in full bloom out of nowhere this time of year. However, thanks to my pollen allergy, this admiration comes with a cost that is tendered in antihistamines. And then, of course, there is Mother’s Day, when we moms get a little extra pampering and recognition for the nurturing we supply all year long.

I could name several more reasons why I think May is simply awesome. But there are two more that must be mentioned: May is both Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month and Jewish American Heritage Month.

 Black and white studio portrait of man in military uniform holding hat.
Yeiichi Kelly Kuwayama in uniform [Jan. 1944]. Yeiichi Kelly Kuwayama Collection, AFC/2001/001/07423.
Black and white (with brownish cast) of man in military uniform and helmet looking off.
John H. Horn in uniform [1942]. John H. Horn Collection, AFC/2001/001/01728.
Join me and the Veterans History Project (VHP) in showing gratitude to all Asian-Pacific American and Jewish American veterans who served, or are still serving, in the United States military with honor and valor. These service members’ contributions are innumerable and deserve recognition throughout the year.

Included in VHP’s archive of more than 96,000 collections are the stories of those who served in every war in which the United States was engaged during the past century, including Asian-Pacific American and Jewish American veterans. I invite you to visit the VHP website,, to search for individual personal accounts via the easy-to-use search criteria on the online database. To access groups of digitized collections from VHP’s “Experiencing War” website series, click on Asian-Pacific Americans: Going for Broke and Jewish Veterans of World War II.

After hearing and viewing these inspirational collections, think of a veteran you know, no matter their cultural or ethnic background, and consider interviewing them for the Veterans History Project. Tell us in the comments section if you will make May the month to get it done. Be sure to watch the 15-minute instructional video and download a field kit at

In the meantime, I’ll be counting down to summer, admiring the colors of spring, sticking close to my box of Kleenex and dropping hints for Mother’s Day gifts. [Cough, spa-day, cough!] Happy May!

Comments (8)

  1. Thank you for securing our past by documenting our history. It is important for us to remember so that we minimize war. No one wins. Again, thank you for all you do!

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Ms. Demery. And you are very welcome.

  2. You are a beautiful and wonderful mother and as one of your children I celebrate you this month! Also, thanks for giving the past a voice that future generations can read and reflect upon! You and all Vets are greatly appreciated!

    • Thank you so much, Jalisa. [cough, spa-day,cough] Be sure to show your appreciation even more by interviewing a veteran in your life. Find out how at

  3. I confess, as well- I’m starting to enjoy Spring a lot more than I used to. Even though I broke my ankle like 2 years ago, the warmer weather does wonders for my ankle and it’s stiffness. So, if nothing more, I appreciate that! Thanks for writing such a pleasant and informative article. I love building up my knowledge of other cultures because it allows me to embrace cultural relativism (something I learned in a Cultural Anthropology class a while ago and it stuck with me lol). Plus, I’m grateful to all the veterans who have defended our country and allow us to enjoy the liberties that we so often take advantage of. Thanks for all the info and load up on the (chewable) Claritin 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, Ms. Lindsay. Sounds like your Cultural Anthropology class paid off. Keep coming back for more highlights from the VHP collections. And I will take your good advice!

  4. Interesting commentary. Thank-you for the information. There are several documentaries on PBS with reference to the two historical groups. They are worth watching. Thanks again, Lisa.

    • Ms. Smith, thanks for your comment and for reading “Folklife Today.” I will be sure to check out the PBS documentaries.

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