Wednesday September 15, 2010
What is it?
Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18. In honor of the tremendous contributions Hispanics make to our force, the Army joins our nation in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. Throughout the Army's history, hispanic Soldiers have served our nation proudly.
The national theme is: "Heritage, Diversity, Integrity and Honor, the Renewed Hope for America." "Herencia, Diversidad, Integridad y Honor: La renovada esperanza de America." The Army theme is: "Honoring Hispanic Soldiers Throughout Our History"
What has the Army done?
This year, in recognition of the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War, the Army will pay a special tribute to the Soldiers of Puerto Rico's 65th Infantry Regiment. The Borinqueneers - named after Puerto Rico's native warriors - landed on the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula in August 1950. In a 3-day battle south of Seoul in January 1951, the Borinqueneers launched the last battalion-sized bayonet charge in U.S. Army history and overran the Chinese army's 149th Division. Puerto Rico's Borinqueneers represent Hispanic Americans' distinguished legacy of courageousness and selfless service spanning the American Revolutionary War to the present-day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army encourages every member of the Army family to learn about and celebrate the contributions of all hispanic Soldiers, families and civilians who have given so much to help safeguard our nation's freedom. Many events and activities are planned at numerous Army installations. We will continue to recruit the best qualified Soldiers of all backgrounds and will ensure that every Soldier is given the opportunity and encouragement to rise to his or her highest level of ability so they can be "Army Strong!"
Why is this important to the Army?
Collectively, hispanics represent the history, culture and traditions of 20 nations and form a vital part of the Army's rich and diverse social fabric. Hispanic Soldiers are prevalent throughout our Army, making up nearly six percent of our commissioned officers, eight percent of our warrant officers, 12 percent of our enlisted personnel, and six percent of the Army civilian workforce.
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"We have to try to figure out the cumulative effects - how they will manifest themselves after nine years of war. We have to work our way through that."
- Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., at the 2010 Defense Forum, with his wife, Sheila, expressed their concern for servicemembers and families who are struggling with the stress and demands of nearly a decade of war.
"You can't just ask if someone is thinking about hurting themselves. That may not work, because in the suicidal person's mind, suicide isn't hurting themselves- it's a way to relieve their pain."
- Vince Gottbrath, who lost a 24-year-old son, is a board member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and teaches suicide awareness classes to high school students in Louisville
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