Written by Veena Meer
I am a Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) student working at Andrews AFB in the Equal Employment Office as an Assistant Manager for the Air Force Disability Program. I administer the Air Force WRP to maintain records, monitor work schedules, and process actions to hire students.
The WRP program, as well as DoD’s recognition of National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and other ethnically diverse groups, contribute to the DoD’s greater mission of promoting strength through diversity in the federal workplace.
What does your heritage mean to you?
I was born in America and my parents emigrated from India. My Indian ethnicity is embedded into my being and guides me to live the type of life I find to be the most fulfilling. It grounds me and reminds me to be pure, strong, and intelligent- three predominant positive qualities I attribute to the people of India.
When I eat Indian food, hear strangers speaking Hindi or Telegu, smell camphor, sandalwood, or incense stick, or come home from college and hear Bollywood movie songs from the TV, my chest lightens and I feel comforted and delighted by the familiarity of it all.
How has your heritage impacted your life and career?
My Indian background is important to me but I must stress that I am also an American. I was an USAF officer candidate in the ROTC program for two years and hope to continue as a civilian working for the Air Force until I apply for Officer Training School.
Over the years my culture has also became a spiritual asset to me. Besides attending Catholic schools, I attended an Indian Sunday school since second grade. After graduating from their program upon entering college, I return there for retreats and to spend time with other Indian young adults I have known since childhood. This cultural experience has built me morally, spiritually, and otherwise.
I learned that happiness is a choice, and I committed to being a happy person all around–in life, college, and career.
This enables me to live to my potential. I visited India five times and immensely enjoyed being there. The strong-willed people in poverty inspires me and the opulence and traditions thrill me. There I feel connected to the Earth and nature. I am American but when I go to the foreign land of India I often feel like my soul is home. I get the best of both worlds.