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Marking Mexico's freedom

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Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2009 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:05 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Rebecca LaFlure

Killeen Daily Herald

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, dozens of senior citizens shimmied to salsa music and other Latin American tunes Wednesday during the Lions Club Park Senior Center's first-ever Hispanic heritage dance.

Complete with a piñata and a table of Latin American food, the event was held on Diez y Seis, the day Mexico received independence from Spain in 1810.

"Everybody likes a good party," said Debbie Edwards, manager of the Lions Club Park Senior Center. "I think a center needs to represent all cultures, and this is one particular culture. … It's important to understand and appreciate the differences in ourselves."

Hispanic Heritage Month, which began Tuesday and runs until Oct. 15, was created to celebrate the accomplishments of Hispanic Americans. Five Spanish-speaking nations celebrated their independence Tuesday, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

"I thought this would be something fun to do," said 63-year-old Jenny Rivera Perez, who attended last night's event.

"She brought me here," her husband Fernando Perez said, laughing as he gave her a playful nudge.

The couple came to Killeen from Puerto Rico in 1987 while Fernando was in the Army.

"It's important to remember our roots," Jenny said.

Eighty-five-year-old Carmen Vazquez, also from Puerto Rico, twisted and turned around the dance floor to the Mexican folk song, "La Bamba" Wednesday.

"I do dance. Not that much, but I try," Vazquez said, who came to Killeen from Puerto Rico three years ago.

Alfred and Ingeborg Cippele barely took a break from the dance floor Wednesday night.

"Dancing is good for you," said Cippele, who said he's more than 80 years old.

Alfred and Ingeborg, 78, have been married 61 years. The couple met in Germany right after World War II when Alfred was stationed there in the Army and Ingeborg was a German native.

"We do everything together," Alfred said.

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