Betsey Frazier sings English and Spanish songs at the observance.

FORT BENNING, Ga. (Oct. 17, 2012) -- Music and dance filled the Derby Auditorium at McGinnis-Wickam Hall Friday, in honor and celebration of the contributions of Hispanic Americans. Fort Benning observed Hispanic American Heritage Month, sponsored by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation which boasts Soldiers and Families from many Spanish countries. Col. Glenn Huber, WHINSEC commandant, said he found it fitting for WHINSEC to sponsor the event because Hispanic Americans make up the majority of WHINSEC.

"WHINSEC is proud to sponsor this observance and be part of this community," Huber said.

Lt. Col. Ramiro Salazar, WHINSEC chief of staff, was guest speaker and said he had three points he wanted the audience to take away with them that coincided with the month's theme of building's the U.S. future today through diversity.

His three points included educating others and being proud of being a Hispanic.

"You can apply that statement to whatever your ethnic background is," Salazar said. "Educate others about who you are and be proud of being that person and where you came from."

He also suggested people teach, coach and mentor the previous generation as well as future generations and to assimilate into the fabric of society.

According to 2010 U.S. Census data, 50.5 million people, or 16 percent, identified themselves as Hispanic or of Latin origin. That is compared to the 2000 U.S. Census data, which had only 35.3 million, or 13 percent, of people who identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino.

"So you see the numbers are rising and I don't think they are going to fall any time soon -- they are only going to keep getting higher," Salazar said. "And that's what I'm talking about -- it's important to understand who you are and where you came from. This is what I mean by educating others and being proud of your ethnic background. Realizing the shared values and common culture that unites all of us as one no matter where you are from -- now and forever."

Page last updated Fri October 19th, 2012 at 10:49