FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 4, 2014) -- The Army is a mixing bowl of cultures that produces Soldiers who recognize bonds that extend beyond each others' backgrounds, but celebrating those different backgrounds that make up the Army is one way Soldiers can make their Army bonds even stronger.

Fort Rucker's Hispanic Heritage month kicks off Sept. 12, and from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service Food Court. Soldiers, civilians, and Families are invited to attend the celebration.

"There will be food sampling, door prizes, Latin music, Latin dance performers, and cultural displays and exhibits," said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Garcia, equal opportunity adviser for 1st Aviation Brigade. "Free food, entertainment and fellowship on a Friday will make the weekend that much better. There will also be live music from the 98th Army "Silver Wings" Band jazz ensemble and Enterprise Elementary School students."

The Army celebrates the many different cultures that make up American society, said Garcia.

"It is important to recognize the contributions that come from these different cultures," he said. "What I hope for is that people learn from these events about the contributions made by Hispanics to all facets of American Society, from industry, science, and military to civil rights and the way America is enriched by this beautiful culture."

Other events throughout the month will be a story-time reading at the Center Library Sept. 19 from 10:15-11 a.m. for children up to age 6, a bowling tournament and trivia contest at Rucker Lanes Sept. 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center will host a gate-to-gate run Sept. 27 at 9 a.m. with registration running from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in the parking lot by the Daleville Gate, and Salsa Night at Divots on the Silver Wings Golf Course Oct. 3 from 7-11:30 p.m.

"Salsa night will be the capstone event of the month and I'm really excited about it," said Garcia. "There will be a DJ, Latin-American and Hispanic music, and dancing. People who do know how to dance will be showing people who don't know how to dance, how to dance."

President Lyndon Johnson approved the first National Hispanic Heritage Week and it was extended to a month in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. The month stretches from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to coincide with the anniversaries of the independence of eight Latin American countries: Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. The celebration also runs through Columbus Day.