REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Hispanic Heritage Month, recognized from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 each year, celebrates the many contributions Hispanic-Americans have made to the United States.

Team Redstone hosted a ceremony at the Bob Jones Auditorium Sept. 26 to mark the occasion. Entertainment was provided by local band Mambo Gris Gris.

"This year's theme, 'Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance Our Traditions,' invites us to reflect on Hispanic-American tradition, history, and culture," said Col. Q. Noreiga, a presenter at the ceremony.

Christine Chavez, the granddaughter of Cesar Chavez, a well-known civil rights activist who advocated for farm workers in the 1960s, was the keynote speaker. She currently works for the United States Department of Agriculture as the farmworker coordinator, carrying on her grandfather's work of advocating for American farm workers.

"I've always believed that Hispanic Heritage Month should be a time where we recognize a community that has made important sacrifices and contributions for strengthening our nation," said Chavez. "It's a time to learn about our culture and to embrace our heritage. The progress we have made as a community is because of the sacrifice of generations that have come before us."

First-, second-, and third-place winners, as well as honorable mentions, were recognized during the program for essay and display contests associated with the observance.

"With a growing population and increased economic and political power comes greater responsibility to be the generation that helps carry this great nation," Chavez said, "and I am convinced that we are prepared to help lead the way."

More than 136,000 Hispanic Soldiers serve in the U.S. Army, leaving behind a legacy of professionalism, service, and courage for future generations.

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U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.