The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command joined Team Redstone in celebrating Hispanic American Heritage month Sept. 23 at the Bob Jones auditorium.

Hispanic Heritage Month began as a week-long observation in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson. It was expanded by President Ronald Reagan to a 30-day period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 in 1988. Unlike other observances that are typically observed during a calendar month, Sept. 15 was chosen as the beginning of the month-long celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month because it is the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Gautemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Additionally, Mexico's independence day is Sept. 16, and Chile's is Sept. 18.

The theme for this year's observance is "Herencia, Diversidad, Integridad y Honor: La Renovada Esperanza de America," which translates as "Heritage, Diversity, Integrity and Honor: The Renewed Hope of America."

The guest speaker at Team Redstone's event was Jack Otera, who immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba in 1953. Otero has been very active in promoting opportunities for Hispanic Americans, but is probably best known for his position as Deputy Undersecretary of Labor, and Assistant Secretary of LaborAca,!"Designate for International Affairs at the U.S Department of Labor, during the first administration of President Bill Clinton.