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Hispanic Heritage Month to embrace the “fierce urgency of now”

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Hispanic Heritage Month is the period recognizing the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States and to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture. The observance was initiated by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week, but was lengthened by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period from Sept. 15. to Oct. 15.

Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point because it is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Hispanic American's have played an important role in shaping America, our communities and our military forces. The influence of the Hispanic culture is reflected in everyday America, from the arts, to music and television. Hispanic Americans serve as leaders in government, law, business, science, sports, arts, and our military. Hispanic Americans have also served our country well since the founding of our nation. Hispanic Americans have fought in every war and many have earned the Medal of Honor.

This year's theme for Hispanic Heritage Month is "Embracing the Fierce Urgency of Now," submitted by Jorge Ponce, Director of the Policy and Evaluation Division at the office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Commerce. His winning theme phrase was actually used once before by the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his landmark "I have a dream" speech.

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand's of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children." Dr. King's landmark speech still rings true today as we continue to strive for racial equality and justice for all of God's children. Dr. King not only spoke for the African American population but for all races within our great country to include Hispanic Americans.

Buckley Air Force Base is pleased to help foster the appreciation for Hispanic culture during Hispanic Heritage month. Listed are the activities Team Buckley will host that deal with Hispanic culture for our diverse force and community.

Sept. 15: Proclamation at Newtch's Den
Sept. 17: Salsa dancing lessons at the gym
Oct. 1: Salsa lessons at the gym
Oct. 15: Salsa lessons at the gym
Oct. 20: Final event at the Leadership Development Center with retired Chief Master Sgt. Bob Vasquez as guest speaker.
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