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Base community observes Hispanic Heritage Month

By Pamela Jackson, Public Affairs Specialist | | September 30, 2010

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The U.S. Marine Corps honors the many contributions Hispanic-Americans have made, and continue to make, by observing National Hispanic Heritage Month each year from Sept. 15 - Oct. 15.

The Marine Corps is considered a prime example of America’s melting pot - a true representation of the nationalities that make up the U.S.’s population. Installations throughout the service recognize both the contributions of Hispanics to the Department of Defense and their achievements nationwide during the monthlong celebration.

“We also recognize Hispanic Heritage as part of the Unity/Multicultural Day celebration in April,” said Angelo Knox, equal opportunity employment specialist, Civilian Human Resource Offices-Southeast. “Bringing people together and celebrating the different heritages and backgrounds are important.”

One such Marine whose parents are natives of Sonora, Mexico, expressed her pride and appreciation to be able to serve her nation.

“I appreciate the Marine Corps for recognizing us with a monthlong observance. It shows how far we have come as a race of people,” said Lance Cpl. Luzcelia Webber, inbound clerk, Military Personnel Branch, Manpower Division, MCLB Albany. “We are all willing to do our part to maintain everyone’s freedom and what our parents wanted us to experience by living in America.”

Another Marine from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, echoed Webber’s sentiments.

“I feel proud that the Marine Corps has given us the opportunity to serve and help this country become a better place,” said Cpl. Henry Figueroa, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Traffic Management Office, Logistics Support Division, MCLB Albany. “It’s a freedom that we serve both the Corps and America. I’m proud our culture can be recognized and given a month to celebrate our heritage with others.”

Marine Administrative Message 502/10, 2010 Hispanic Heritage Month reads: “The theme for this year’s observance is heritage, diversity, integrity and honor: The renewed hope of America. Throughout our history, Hispanic-Americans have distinguished themselves in the Marine Corps and they continue to do so today. Hispanic Marines bring unique qualities and a cultural background that strengthens our Corps and our nation. These proud patriots have fought valiantly in every war since the founding of our nation.”

According to the Web site, www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Carib-bean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting Sept. 15 and ending Oct. 15. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988.

The MARADMIN further states that today, there are 23,797 Hispanics serving on active duty and 10,935 in the Marine Corps Reserves, representing 12 percent of the total force.

Since the Civil War, 39 Hispanics have received the Medal of Honor and many more have achieved awards for valor and courage, according to information from http://www.defense. gov/specials/hispanic02/medal.html.

U.S. Census Bureau data shows more than 35 million people define themselves as Hispanic. The term Hispanic refers to Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. of any race.


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