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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Sizzling aromas, performances mark 11 Area cultural festivities;

By LCpl. Brian J. Griffin | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | May 11, 2000

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Camp Pendleton celebrated "a day of unity? May 3 at the 11 Area Field during Multicultural Heritage Day, an annual festival celebrating Camp Pendleton?s cultural diversity.
It included several booths representing various cultures and performances that dazzled audiences with dances from around the world.
"We celebrate today the willingness of people of all ethnic and historical backgrounds to work together for the common goal of life, liberty and freedom, as a way of life," said LtGen. Bruce B. Knutson, commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
The event is held to acknowledge and honor the diverse ethnic and cultural heritages of the United States, said Ron Daniel, event coordinator.
Participants included Native Americans and Americans of African, Asian, European, Hispanic, Bolivian, Swedish, German, Australian, British and Far Eastern backgrounds. Representatives highlighted the uniqueness of their own culture, Daniel said.
Attendance was open to everyone and admission was free.
Ethnic foods were available from five vendors. The spread ranged from African American dishes like pig knuckles with rice, to traditional Italian treats like pizza and Asian dishes including Szechuan beef.
Throughout the day, performances by ethnic dancers -- including fingernail and belly dances -- delighted audiences.
"It's nice to learn about different cultures," said Vanessa Mercado, a Roosevelt Middle School student.
"Our base, Camp Pendleton, is truly an example of the melting pot-theory. Here we have people from almost every corner of the world living and working together," LtGen. Knutson said. "We are meshed together with a military culture of wholesome living and unity. We've formed a team of people with inspiration and dedication."

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