FORT STEWART, Ga. - September 15 through October 15 marks the National Hispanic Heritage month, which was approved originally as Hispanic Heritage Week by President Lyndon B. Johnson, but enacted into a month- long celebration under President Ronald Reagan August 14, 1988.

During this celebration, we as a nation, focus on the many contributions that Hispanic-Americans have made, along with the unique cultural differences which make the United States the great "melting pot."

Hispanic food, music, dance, art and history are often on display around the different civic centers and municipalities nationwide. Here at Fort Stewart, on Oct. 11, Marne Soldiers took the "Status quo" for the Hispanic celebration and kicked it up a notch as only "Dog Face Soldiers" can do.

The celebration was hosted by the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team at Club Stewart, and was packed with eager and enthusiastic Soldiers. A performance by Hispanic dancers, the Peruvian Roots of Savannah, started off the celebration with a flair of authentic and colorful dance arrangements, much to the delight of the spectators. Peruvian Roots of Savannah was then followed by the Latin band, Crupo Son Del Conqui, who treated the Soldiers to a blend of hot-blooded Latino music which got several pairs of "Joes" on their feet doing the tango around the ball room.

The climax of this regal event was the guest speaker, the Honorable Alberto R. Gonzales, the 80th Attorney General of the United States, and the highest-ranking Hispanic U.S. government official ever.

Gonzales spoke of overcoming stereotypes and prejudice through his early childhood years. He also expressed his strong beliefs in education and personal growth, both of which can help overcome many stigmas which Hispanic-Americans face today.

Before the celebration at Club Stewart, Gonzales had breakfast with several 1HBCT Soldiers, and then was taken on a personal tour of the 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment, 1HBCT motor pool, Warriors Walk, Fort Stewart Museum, and on-post housing areas by Col. James Crider, 1HBCT Commander.

Gonzales expressed his admiration of the professionalism of all the Marne Soldiers whom he met during his visit, and was amazed at the level of dedication and devotion to duty of today's modern Army.