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Every year in May, the U.S. celebrates two significant remembrance months: Jewish American Heritage Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Google either one of these, and you’ll find page after page of hits for celebratory events across the U.S., everything from art exhibitions to school events to lists of books to read!

This is one of the many things we love about this country: this recognition that we’re truly a melting pot of languages, traditions and cultures, and that the worst thing we could ever do, as a nation, is lose sight of this.

Some might criticize the very existence of such months and dismiss them with comments like “this is America, act American,” but we disagree. Our diversity is what makes us so beautiful, so unique, and so multi-faceted. And the fact that we celebrate this diversity so intentionally … well, that just makes our hearts sing.

Let’s face it: unless we’re 100% Native American, we have families who came here from somewhere else. It’s possible that we spoke the language of our foreign-born parents and grandparents, sometimes before we spoke English, oftentimes in tandem. And we grew up surrounded by and often immersed in the traditions and celebrations of our ancestors’ homelands, even as we pledged allegiance to the American flag and rose to salute the flag at school and sporting events.

Our families held on to certain celebrations and traditions from their homelands — rites of passage, transitions of the seasons, specific foods to mark holidays celebrated by many and holidays celebrated by some — and we’re eternally grateful that they did because honestly, to lose any of this would be a travesty.

For those of us who live in areas known for diversity, shopping errands could include trips to Asian, Indian and Eastern European grocery stores, all in one day, for ingredients needed to cook dishes that are now mainstream. Dumplings, curry and matzoh ball soup come to mind as just three examples from a list of dishes, recognizable and celebrated by people from outside these cultures, that grow increasingly mainstream every day.

We find that heartening in a way that gives us great hope for the future and that encourages us to continue believing in the inherent goodness of mankind, even when the headlines are filled with the horrors of war and destruction. Our wish for the future is that we continue, as a nation, to be inspired by the things that unite us, even and especially when they’re different from our own cultures.

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