USS HARRY S. TRUMAN. At Sea (NNS) -- The Multicultural Heritage Committee and Caribbean-American crew members aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) concluded a weeklong celebration of Caribbean Heritage Month June 24.
Caribbean Heritage Month is one of the many annual heritage festivals celebrated throughout the Navy. These observances reflect the Navy's cultural diversity and helps educate and bridge the gaps between shipmates.
"The Navy recognizes 10 heritage holidays annually, this is Truman's first official observance of Caribbean Heritage Month," said Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Davenport, Multicultural Heritage Committee chairman.
The week began with a cake-cutting ceremony June 22.
Harry S. Truman's Caribbean-American Sailors and Marines crew members cooked some of the Caribbean's delicacies - from curried and jerked chicken, to peas and rice, beef and chicken patties and ox tails for their fellow shipmates.
"It felt good to be in the kitchen cooking and being able to share fellowship and even speak in my native dialect," said Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Cameron, a first-generation American, whose parents hail from Spanish Jamaica. "Being involved in my culture's heritage celebration rejuvenated a since of pride in me, as well as reminded me of the comforts of being back on the island."
During the formal ceremony June 24, the festivities continued with an educational and inspirational display of history, poetry, and song.
"Today is about celebrating the opportunity we all had to not only come to the United States and join the Navy but contribute to the team," said Command Master Chief (SW/AW) Loran Bather, who was born in St. Catherine, Jamaica. "If you look around the ship you will see Sailors and Marines that come from all walks of life; some grew up in the Caribbean Islands, some grew up in America and some from other foreign nations. We have so many differences yet we share so many of the same qualities."
For the committee members experiencing the Caribbean culture for the first time and being a part of the celebration, it was an enlightening event.
"I volunteered to cook and read a piece about history during the ceremony because when the Heritage committee first started planning for the celebration, the information was interesting," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuels) Airman Tiffany Thomas. "I knew then I really wanted to participate and fully experience the Caribbean culture."
Harry S. Truman's Multicultural Committee ensures that observances like the Caribbean Heritage celebration allow crew members the opportunity to celebrate and share each others' cultures and traditions.
"The things we learn from our families, communities and countries allow us to contribute to the daily successes of our divisions, departments and commands," said Bather. "Our ability to love, embrace and respect one another is what makes us so strong and the world's finest Navy."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.