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Home : News : News
NEWS | Oct. 10, 2018

Hispanic culture, heritage celebrated during Brooke Army Medical Center observance

By Lori Newman Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

Hispanic music and song rang out in the Brooke Army Medical Center Medical Mall Oct. 3 as the organization celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month.

 “We are here to celebrate great Americans of Hispanic descent,” said Brig. Gen. George Appenzeller, BAMC’s commanding general.

The general said Hispanic Americans come from many different cultures and traditions. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the cultures and contributions of Americans with ancestry from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

“Our greatest strength is in our diversity,” Appenzeller said. “We are an incredibly diverse, giving, accepting culture. Everything that we have ever done, that is great, is because of the diverse individuals within America.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Napoleon Noguerapayan, Army Medical Department NCO Academy commandant, was the guest speaker for the event.

Noguerapayan described growing up in Managua, Nicaragua; being the youngest of 15 siblings.

“My mother barely knew how to read or write, but she sent us to school,” he said. “I remember going to school barefoot, running from tree to tree to cool off my feet in the summertime.”

Noguerapayan said he doesn’t dwell on his past, but it showed him the value of a hard day’s work at an early age.

“I’m not here to tell you how unfortunate I was to live these experiences,” Noguerapayan said. “I’m here to tell you how fortunate I am to have lived through that. I’m here to tell you how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to serve in the United States Army. I’m here to tell you about the opportunity I have to be part of the greatest nation on the face of the earth.”

He highlighted this year’s theme, “One Endless Voice to Enhance Our traditions.”

“I would like to think that one endless voice would tell every Hispanic and every Latino the value of leadership, peace, liberty, teamwork, and contribution to a greater society,” Noguerapayan said. “The voice that tells you to work as a team, shoulder-to-shoulder, defending one another, extending a helping hand to those in need.”

Noguerapayan spoke about members of the United States military throughout history, saying they were committed to protecting the constitution of the United States of America.

“They raised their hand to say they would fight for something bigger than themselves,” he said. “They understood that ‘we is greater than me.’ If we want to enhance that tradition we look at those examples of courage and commitment. We honor the past with the actions of the future.”

In conclusion, Noguerapayan encouraged fellow service members to engage in community, seek to improve themselves and be role models for others to follow.

Following the guest speaker, Karyme Zuniga Reyes and Itzel Schuessler and their teacher, Maria-Cristina Ortega-Alton, preformed several songs in Spanish to honor different Hispanic and Latino cultures.

BAMC Command Sgt. Maj. Oates thanked the speaker, entertainers and the equal opportunity team for putting the event together.

“I’m proud to serve with my Hispanic brothers and sisters,” Oates said. “Team BAMC – I’m proud to serve with all of you.”