The Army can be viewed as one of the most honorable professions a person can have, and it is also one of the most demanding, both mentally and physically. For centuries, men and women from all walks of life have stepped up to answer the Army's call to arms.

The service commemorates the longstanding and remarkable contributions individuals have made in building and defending the nation in many ways, to include monthly cultural observances.

The 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), along with 4th Infantry Division's Equal Opportunity Office, presented this year's Hispanic Heritage Month Observance, Sept. 25, 2017, at the Elkhorn Conference Center.

"(The observance) shows just how diverse and united we are," said Col. Norberto Menendez, commander, Division Artillery, 4th Infantry Division, and the event's guest speaker.

Fort Carson Soldiers learn about the importance diversity has within the military during the Hispanic Heritage Month observance Sept. 2, 2017, at the Elkhorn Conference Center. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds)
Fort Carson Soldiers learn about the importance diversity has within the military during the Hispanic Heritage Month observance Sept. 2, 2017, at the Elkhorn Conference Center. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds)

Menendez said it is important to celebrate all the ethnicities that make up the Army.

This year's theme, "Hispanic Americans: Strong and Colorful Threads in the American Fabric," is a derivative of the Army's unity through its diversity.

Menendez said the observance is a good opportunity for Soldiers to "learn a bit about the contributions of Hispanic Soldiers and their part in the lineage of Hispanic service to the nation."

The annual observance officially began Sept. 15, 2017, and continues through Oct. 15, 2017. These dates are significant because they encompass several important events within the Hispanic American culture. This includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua independence celebrations, Mexico's Independence Day Sept. 15, 2017, Chile's Independence Day Sept. 16, 2017, and Spain and Latin American countries celebrate the discovery of the Americas Oct. 12, 2017.

Soldiers indulge in Hispanic-inspired cuisine during the Hispanic Heritage Month observance held at the Elkhorn Conference Center Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds)
Soldiers indulge in Hispanic-inspired cuisine during the Hispanic Heritage Month observance held at the Elkhorn Conference Center Sept. 25, 2017. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds)

Col. Frank Davis II, commander, of 71st EOD, said there is a great deal of benefit to hosting a cultural observance. Davis, who noted he has spoken at observances, said he often learns something he did not know about a culture while researching topics for his speech.

"We can learn from and show appreciation for each other through these types of events," he said. "Hispanic Americans, both past and present, represent the military with devoted patriotism and heroism. This fact is represented by the more than 40 Hispanic Americans who have received the coveted Medal of Honor, dating back to the Civil War era, as well as by the more than 133,000 Hispanics currently serving in the military today."

Sgt. Baudilio Morales, 71st EOD, of Hispanic descent, views the observance as a time for Soldiers of different ethnicities to unite.

"It's good to reflect on heritage and to see how we all come together," said Morales. "(The observance) is a true show of the diversity that is present in the Army."

Diversity has long since been one of America's greatest strengths and a contributing force that makes the Army stronger and more capable, said Menendez.

"It is important to celebrate our diversity because our strength is in our diversity," he said.