Members of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) workforce celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month Oct. 16 in the Seay Auditorium at U.S. Transportation Command headquarters on Scott Air Force Base, Ill. with an event full of musical and dance performances.
Americans have observed Hispanic heritage since 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed the week of 15 and 16 October as Hispanic Heritage Week. It was later changed under Ronald Reagan and still observed today from September 15 to October 15.
Today's ceremony marked the end of SDDC's celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and paid tribute to the Hispanic cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. This year's theme was "Hispanics: one endless voice to enhance our traditions" and focused on unity of the diverse Hispanic cultures.
Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen, SDDC commanding general, spoke about how diversity in the workforce is key to SDDC's operations and the importance of celebrating Hispanic heritage.
"Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work and service," said Master Sgt. Shannon West, SDDC's Equal Opportunity Advisor, during the ceremony.
Mr. Arturo Rodriguez, an SDDC transportation planner and guest speaker for the event, highlighted the Hispanics who made contributions and sacrifices to ensure our freedom, dating back to the revolutionary war. He spoke about three Hispanic-American military members who risked their lives in service to our country in Afghanistan, Vietnam and Korea.
Capt. Glendon Sanders, SDDC battle captain and operations movement officer, performed a musical tribute, Concierto de Aranjuez written in 1939 by Joaquin Rodigrio, on trumpet.
Members of the Grupo Atlantico from St. Louis, Mo. entertained the audience with traditional folk dances from Columbia, Venezuela and Puerto Rico to end the ceremony.
"Many of our Hispanic military members have given their last full measure of devotion to defend our nation," said SDDC chaplain Maj. Mark Sedwick, "and we dedicate our efforts today to honor their memory and their sacrifice."