Hispanic Heritage: ‘Shaping the bright future of America’

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First Army Division East hosted a Hispanic Heritage Month observance Friday titled, “Shaping the Bright Future of America,” at Waybur Theater on Fort Knox, Kentucky.


The guest speaker for the event was Kentucky state
Sen. Ralph Alvarado, the first Hispanic member elected to the Kentucky General Assembly.

Maj. Gen. Todd McCaffrey, commanding general of First Army Division East and host of the event, explained the importance of diversity in the military.

“(Hispanics) represent not only a diversity of gender and diversity of service members but also a diversity of conflicts,” McCaffrey said. “They represent how much of our nation’s history has been shaped by the great service of Hispanic Americans in war and in peace.

“They represent our total force,” McCaffrey said. “They show the diversity. They show the strength that comes with diversity that we see across our armed forces.”

McCaffrey highlighted the contributions that Hispanic Americans have brought to America while serving in the Army, including the sacrifices they have made.

“It’s important we recognize that more than 40 Hispanic Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor, dating back through the conflicts stretching as far back as the Civil War,” he said.

Since 1985, the number of Hispanic Soldiers serving in the Army has increased from 3 to 14 percent with more than 133,000 Hispanics serving today, according to McCaffrey.

Sen. Alvarado said
he appreciated having the opportunity to participate in the Hispanic Heritage Month observance with Fort Knox service members.

“It is truly an honor and a privilege for me to celebrate and recognize Hispanic Heritage Month with you,” Alvarado said. “As a Kentuckian and a member of the general assembly, I am proud that this base is within the borders of our commonwealth and want to thank you all for your service to our country.”

Alvarado highlighted the ways Hispanic culture enhances America as a country and encouraged the crowd to celebrate Hispanic heritage.

“Always reflect what Hispanics are,” Alvarado said. “That we’re proud, we’re determined and we’re hard working. Through the national Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize the many contributions of Hispanic Americans to our country.”

As part of the observance, one service member from each of the five branches of the military represented five Hispanic service members who sacrificed their lives throughout multiple conflicts.

The observance also included a musical and dance performance by a Latin group called Salsa Rhythms. The Saber & Quill provided food samplings from different Hispanic cultures.

Hispanic Heritage month is observed each year from Sept.15 through Oct. 15.

“Hispanic Americans have been, and are still, and in the future will continue to serve selflessly,” McCaffrey said. “Every American owes them a great debt of gratitude for what they have done and what they continue to do and for their families sacrifice and their service.” n