ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Hispanics were recognized at the Hispanic Heritage Month Observance here at Heritage Hall on Oct. 10, for their positive influences in their communities and to celebrate diversity as a nation.

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, commemorating the independence of Hispanic countries and Hispanic diversity throughout the U.S. This year's theme is "Diversity United, Building America's Future Today."

Santiago Vazuera Vásquez, professor at the University of Iowa, was the guest speaker. At the observance, Vásquez, an assistant professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, talked about the importance of Hispanics belonging in the U.S. because of their participation in every level of the community, ranging from peach farmers to government officials.

Vásquez also said that it is important to be open to diversity because, "Diversity makes us stronger."

Bettinna Bolger-Diaz, owner of the Salsa Touch Latin Dance and Fitness Studio in Bettendorf, Iowa, demonstrated three Latin dances with her student, Alex Vazquez, after Vásquez's presentation.

Col. Scott J. Lofreddo , chief of staff, Army Sustainment Command, presented plaques to Maj. Carmen Rosado, Vásquez, and Bolger-Diaz, following the dance demonstration. Lofreddo also provided closing remarks.

Following this, Hispanic food was offered to attendees to enrich their cultural diversity.