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Hispanic Heritage: adding strength through diversity

By Airman Shelby Pruitt | 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs | Sept. 21, 2018

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas - —

Since 1988, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 has been recognized as National Hispanic Heritage Month. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the culture, history and contributions of American citizens who came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

These days in September and October were chosen because of the many holidays Hispanic countries celebrate within that time period. The first day, Sept. 15, is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence days within the month, on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18.

In addition to the independence days, Hispanic Day (Día de la Hispanidad) is also celebrated during those days Oct. 12.

The observance began as Hispanic Heritage Week, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. The week was expanded to National Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988 when President Ronald Reagan enacted a new law Aug. 17, upon the approval of Public Law 100-402.

By Public Law 100-402, the president is required to issue a proclamation each year designating Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as “National Hispanic Heritage Month.” This year, President Donald J. Trump issued his proclamation Sept. 13. The proclamation can be accessed and read online at https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/presidential-proclamation-national-hispanic-heritage-month-2018/.

The Air Force recognizes the contributions of Hispanic cultures and celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month every year.

Airman 1st Class Duver A. Navarro-Narvaez, an aerospace physiology technician with the 359th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, moved to the United States from his home in Ecuador and was introduced to Hispanic Heritage Month because of his Air Force affiliation.

“I was born and raised in Ecuador and moved to the United States six years ago,” Navarro said. “Where I used to live was close to an airport and I would see airplanes flying by and landing all the time; it was pretty cool.

“I heard about the U.S. Air Force before I even came to the country and joining is something I have always wanted to do.”

Navarro is proud of his heritage and believes no matter where you’re from, as long as you have good intentions, you’ll do well no matter where you are. He is glad he has the opportunity to serve in the United States Air Force.

The Air Force takes pride in its wide variety of elite individuals who decide to join, and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is just one of the many ways it shows appreciation.