Hundreds of soldiers and civilians filled Howze Auditorium to celebrate the Hispanic culture and its contributions to America.
III Corps and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, hosted the III Corps and Fort Hood Hispanic Heritage Month Observance Friday.
National Hispanic Heritage Month was set into proclamation by the president to honor the achievements of Hispanics in America every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, opened the observance with remarks on the “celebration of diversity.”
“America is a composite of many diverse cultures and this observance recognizes one vast culture in particular,” Campbell said.
He spoke specifically on observing the Hispanic nations culture. “We draw on the unique strengths of diverse cultures and particularly the growing Hispanic influence in the fields of art, music and business,” Campbell said.
Guest speaker Jose Segarra, Killeen City Council man, added to Campbell’s remarks saying, “We are here today to honor one of the most diverse cultures in our country.”
He said numerous people don’t realize Hispanics are not one cultural group of people, instead there are many nationalities within the culture and all Hispanics should celebrate that.
“You should celebrate your heritage but take pride in the nation as a whole,” Segarra added.
This month should be a time of celebration because of the tremendous opportunities each Hispanic person has in life, Segarra said.
“Statistics have shown most Hispanic people still see owning a home or business as a dream, an American dream, but I say the opportunities are available now, especially to further your education,” he stated.
Spc. Monica Salazar, a supply specialist with 2nd Brigade’s 15th Brigade Support Battalion, agreed with Segarra’s remarks, saying she is aware that Hispanics have a lot to be thankful for as she continues to pursue her college education.
“My parents always focused on our education to ensure we would have opportunities and better way of life,” Salazar said. “I believe (Hispanics) have many things open and available to us to succeed in America.”
The Army has helped her with those opportunities, she added. Additionally, she enjoys the diverse cultures in the military and learning from each of them.
“We recognize the diversity of our Army and our great nation,” Campbell explained. “Our Soldiers understand that.”
Having served for 10 years in the Army, Segarra was proud of the opportunity to be part of an organization with diverse cultures coming together for one common goal.
Many found the observance to be informative and developed a better understanding about themselves.
“Coming from a Mexican culture I was aware that the Hispanic nation was diverse, but I never knew there was a month set aside to allow me to reflect and celebrate my heritage,” Salazar added. “I am proud of my culture and what it has brought to this country.”