2nd BCT celebrates Hispanic American Heritage Month
Sgt. Sean Harriman,
2nd BCT, 1st AD Public Affairs:
On Sept. 17, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson designated a week in mid-September in order to recognize the achievements and cultural impact that Hispanic Americans have on the United States, calling it Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended the observance to a month, calling it Hispanic Heritage Month.
In keeping with these traditions, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, hosted a Hispanic American Heritage Month observance Sept. 26 at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center.
“The observance was a great opportunity for Fort Bliss and El Paso to cement their already strong relationship,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Andre Johnson, command sergeant major of 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment.
“Our Army is built on different cultures and for young Soldiers to be able to see where the Army and our nation have come from, past and present, is great,” Johnson said.
The observance ceremony, which was conducted in both the Spanish and English language, featured a local judge and Hispanic American, the justice of the peace for District 4, Judge Barbara Perez, as the guest speaker, as well as the University of Texas at El Paso Allegro Dance Company.
During her speech, Perez spoke about the progress in society that Hispanic Americans have made since the 1950s, citing a time when her family was once bribed to leave their home in a white neighborhood by a local banker.
“My main focus has been to represent my community with integrity, honesty and commitment,” Perez said.
The city of El Paso, which has a historically predominant Hispanic American population, more than 80 percent as of the 2010 census, has been shaped by the contributions of Hispanic Americans.
As such, the Hispanic American Heritage observance was assisted greatly by the vast amount of personal experience shared.
“Fort Bliss put on one of the best observances that I’ve been to,” said Staff Sgt. Shanita Bailey, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
Bailey said that when Perez spoke of the struggles that she and her family went through, it made the observance memorable.
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