SJAFB celebrates Hispanic Heritage month

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Taylor Hunter

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AFB, N.C.-- Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the hispanic communities in the United States. The event, which spans from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15,  commemorates how those communities have influenced and contributed to American society at large.


Originally designated as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson, it was later given a whole month in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan.


"Instead of being given a more orthodox time period, the commemoration starts on the 15th of September, which reflects the independence days of five Latin American countries; Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador," said Staff Sgt. Caroline Caba De Mota, 4th Force Support Squadron military personnelist. "Additionally, the Independence Days of Mexico and Chile are the 16th and 18th of September, respectively."


In the past weeks, there were several events hosted in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, including a reading at the library, a pepper eating contest, Latin BINGO night, a sip and paint, and a food tasting.


"Many of the Latin American countries celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day as Americans do," said Caba De Mota. "However, some Latin countries know it as Discovery Day, the Day of the Race or the Day of the Cultures.”


The Seymour Johnson Air Force Base’s Latinx Club has put in time and effort to host events that honor, acknowledge and celebrate Hispanic heritage.


 A significant number of Hispanics have served in all of the nation’s wars beginning with more than 40 Medal of Honor recipients dating back to the Civil War. Those of Latino or Hispanic descent makeup 17.6 percent of the active duty force, numbering 235,972 as of July 2021, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center.


"I personally think of Hispanic Heritage Month as a time to look back and see the many contributions from Hispanics of all walks of life; what they contributed to our military and our country," said Airman 1st Class Sergio Hernandez, 4th Logistics Readiness Squadron aircraft part store apprentice. "The thing I like most is that it gets to show everyone the culture, heritages and background."


“If you are looking to be part of a supportive family who is always involved in activities to bring communities together, bring new ideas to the table to get people involved, to have fun in the process and share your heritage with others and be proud of it, this is definitely the group that you belong,” said Hernandez. “You do not need to be Hispanic to be part of it, you just need to be who you are and be proud of where you are coming from."