FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Sept. 29, 2009) -- U.S. Army South proudly joins the rest of the nation in honoring Hispanic Heritage Month, which celebrates the rich cultural heritage of our largest linguistic and ethnic minority in a month-long tribute to Hispanic contributions. This year's Department of Defense theme is "Embracing the fierce urgency of now."

Hispanic American Heritage Month, established in 1989, was set aside to acknowledge and celebrate the diverse Hispanic cultures of American society. The term Hispanic refers to Spanish-speaking people of any race. In the 2000 Census, more than 35 million people identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino.

The Hispanic culture is strongly influenced by family. The concept of family, 'la familia,' captures the spirit of community and a sense of belonging to the unique culture.

"The Spanish culture is about family without any doubt," said Maj. Gen. Keith Huber, Army South commander. "I have the privilege with U.S. Army South to interact with the armies of the Caribbean, Central and South America every day. I feel the respect and the heritage of the Hispanic culture. I stumble through the Spanish language to show my respect and I understand the elements of family."

Hispanic Americans have served in every war of our nation's history.

Hispanic Heritage Month coincides with the national independence anniversaries of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.