The Pentagon has observed the annual Vaisakhi festival for the third consecutive year. (File Photo)
Washington: The Pentagon has observed the annual Vaisakhi festival for the third consecutive year in Washington, noting that the US Defense Department places high value on supporting free exercise of religion of its personnel.
“This is significant because the Department of Defence places a high value of supporting free exercise of religion of its personnel,” Pentagon Chaplain Kenneth R Williams told news agency PTI in an interview yesterday as he helped in organising the third annual Vaisakhi celebration in Washington.
“We are honoured to celebrate Vaisakhi here at the Pentagon, which is not only the birthday of the Sikh religion, but also the day that Guru Gobind Singh set us on the path to be Sikh soldiers and warriors,” said Major Kamal Kalsi, one of the few Sikhs who have been allowed to serve in the US armed forces with his religious symbols intact.
Major Kalsi thanked the Pentagon Chaplin’s office of being so supportive of this Vaisakhi celebration.
Petty Officer Guldeep Kaur Sindhu, who has served on active duty on the US Navy for six years, was the main speaker of the event. Her expertise has led her to work on gun systems and ordnance that are employed on Naval aircraft.
Canada-based Pardeep Singh Nagra who currently serves as the director of the Sikh Heritage Museum in Canada also spoke on the occasion that was marked by Kirtan and Ardaas.
Vaisakhi refers to the harvest festival in Punjab.