Hispanic Heritage Month Observance celebrates diversity
October 7, 2013
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- The 2013 Hispanic Heritage Month main observance was held at Dragon Hill Lodge Naija Ballroom to celebrate and highlight the valuable contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, Oct. 1.
Hosted by 1st Signal Brigade and presented by Eighth Army, the observance attracted approximately 150 people, and shared the true meaning of diversity in the military with the community.
"This observance promotes understanding of teamwork, harmony, pride and spirit among all groups, not just with one specific group," said Cpt. Carolina Cruz, BDE Strength Manager of 501st Military Intelligence Brigade.
According to the Department of Defense, more than 150,000 Hispanics serve on active-duty in the U.S. military forces and comprise 11.4 percent of the total service members.
1st Sgt. Jose J. Santiago from UNC Honor Guard STB, USFK, delivered his speech as the guest speaker of the ceremony. Santiago spoke about his background growing up in Puerto Rico, his father's service as a Korean War veteran, and his own career in the U.S. Army.
"Many nations already see our commitment from men to women with different backgrounds supporting our government. What they see is our strength and spirit that transcends our cultural differences," Santiago said. "America is a nation of many different groups, all coming together as one. All groups blend together."
A Hispanic heritage cultural dance performance introduced the Salsa and Cha-Cha to the audience. Some guests were invited onto the stage to dance along. Santiago and the dance demonstrators were awarded, and the audience continued the celebration enjoying a Hispanic cultural food buffet.