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NEWS | Oct. 1, 2012

Guard observes National Hispanic Heritage Month

By Amanda Koons Army National Guard

ARLINGTON, Va. - Amid a busy morning at Arlington Hall Station, the Army National Guard Bureau paused Sept. 27 to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Commemorations in all states and territories will honor men and women of Hispanic descent during the observation from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

In a room full of a variety of backgrounds, Soldiers and civilians were reminded of the strength diversity brings to the Army National Guard and the Nation.

Those attending were encouraged to seek additional opportunities to observe the month in their communities.

"Go beyond just this day" in observing and realizing that diversity provides strength to the Army National Guard, said event host Brig. Gen. Walter E. Fountain, special assistant to the director, Army National Guard.

One of ARNG Director Lt. Gen. William E. Ingram Jr.'s strategic imperatives aligns with the goals of National Hispanic Heritage Month. That is to strive to "enhance the ARNG's core strengths, character and culture."

This initiative includes developing and sustaining the trust of Soldiers, families, employers and communities by living and emulating the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.

Army and ARNG culture fosters positive environments that are free from abuse, harassment and discrimination.

National Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968, when Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Regan expanded the observance to become Hispanic Heritage Month, beginning on Sept. 15 and concluding Oct. 15.

President Barack Obama proclaimed the observance again for 2012, stating, "Our nation's story would not be possible without generations of Hispanics who have shaped and strengthened the fabric of our union.

"They have enriched every aspect of our national identity with traditions that stretch across centuries and reflect the many ancestries that comprise the Hispanic community. This month, we celebrate this rich heritage and reflect on the invaluable contributions Hispanics have made to America," the proclamation said.

Said Lt. Gen. Ingram: "We will continue to point to our diversity as an organizational strength. Like our nation, our Soldiers are a reflection of the fabric of communities across our states, territories and the District of Columbia."