MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
People of this culture emulate hard work, strong family ties and a deep-rooted faith, all of which enable them to prosper. These people I speak of are called Hispanics and they originate from Mexico, the Caribbean islands, Central America and South America.
They are known as Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Cubans, Columbians, Ecuadorians, Peruvians and Costaricans, to name a few. With more than 52 million Hispanics in the American populace as of 2011 and a projected 132.8 million by 2050, the census bureau is not the only source that acknowledges the increase in Hispanics and their contributions to America.
In 1968, Sept. 15-16 were designated as baselines for a weeklong celebration of Hispanic Heritage. These dates were chosen because they commemorate the independence anniversaries of five Latin American countries: Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and El Salvador. In addition, Mexico celebrates its independence on Sept. 16.
In 1988, Congress passed Public Law 100-402, which changed the weeklong celebration to a monthlong observance, and in which every President henceforth proclaimed Sept. 15 - Oct. 15 as the National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Now, just 24 years after the establishment of the National Hispanic Heritage Month, we are still able to witness the contributions of so many Hispanics to the American culture.
Some of the major contributions to American culture and society lie in the names of more than 2,000 cities and towns and several states. For instance, names like Colorado, Nevada, Montana and Florida, and terms like cabana, patio, and adobe are all of Spanish origin.
The Hispanic influence does not end with names however; it extends to people and the military as well.
A few of the names most may be familiar with like noted fashion designer Oscar de la Renta and the first Hispanic justice, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, undoubtedly have resonated throughout America.
Others, like Carlos Santana, who is known for his mastery of the guitar, and Ellen Ochoa, who became the first Hispanic woman in space in 1993, have also contributed to the American society.
Not to mention that more than 400,000 Hispanics served in the Armed Forces during World War II, while also serving as far back as the American Revolution and as recently as Operation Iraqi Freedom.
This month not only celebrates a multitude of cultures within a community, but a heritage abundant with diversity.
Let us celebrate another year in honor of our Hispanic predecessors and future elites.
President Barack Obama stated in his 2009 Proclamation (8417): “the story of Hispanics is the story of America itself ... rich traditions of communities with centuries-old roots in America.”