Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrating culture, diversity – making a difference

Airman 1st Class Melissa Maraj
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Good chow
Attendees of the 415th Base Support Battalion’s Hispanic Heritage Month Observance, “Making a Difference in Our Communities and Our Nation,” enjoy a free buffet Tuesday at the Armstrong Community Club, Vogelweh Housing.

Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, is a time to honor the cultural diversity and the unique contributions of the Hispanic community.

Taking the time to appreciate who we are and where we come from is an important part of the month, as well as saying thank you for the contributions made in the past by Hispanics, said Col. Vincent Valdespino, 435th Communications Group, commander and invited speaker for the Hispanic American Heritage Month Celebration Banquet, Oct. 16.

Hispanic members in the KMC have the opportunity to celebrate in culture and diversity by participating in activities that are suited to all ages, said Capt. Karen Watson, who has been a part of the Ramstein Hispanic Heritage Committee since August.

Activities such as skate nights, family nights and library readings having been planned throughout the month and are targeted to all youth. A bowl-a-thon, 5K run and observance banquet targeted for adults.

“It’s important for all of us to come together and celebrate our heritage, not only for ourselves, but for future generations,” said Captain Watson.

Hispanic Heritage Month marks the anniversary of the independence for five Latin American countries — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua following Mexico which declared its independence Sept. 16 and Chile Sept. 18.
“We as Hispanics come from many different nations, but share a common bond of our Latin culture,” said Captain Watson.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the term Hispanic, refers to Spanish-speaking people in the United States of any race. The estimated Hispanic population as of July 1, 2003 stands at 39 million with a projection of more than 100 million by the year 2050.
“Even though we are different, we are the same in basic values.

We are all huge contributors to society,” said Colonel Valdespino.
For more information on Hispanic Heritage Month activities call, Captain Watson at 480-6208 or Staff Sgt. Rita Vitela at 480-3498.