McConnell celebrates Hispanic heritage month

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. KeOnte Criswell
  • 22nd Communications Squadron
McConnell is proud to continue its support and dedication in paying tribute to Hispanic heritage Sept. 15- Oct. 15. 

As Hispanic Heritage Month observation begins, it marks the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on Sept.16 and Chile on Sept. 18. 

To show its support, McConnell is scheduled to hold a Hispanic food tasting event Oct. 10 at the base Chapel from 12 - 1:30 p.m. There will be Hispanic heritage visuals displayed at the Robert J. Dole center throughout the month. 

Hispanic Heritage Month began as a week long celebration with the original proclamation set by President Lyndon Johnson called for one week of observation with ceremonies and activities. 

However, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan called for more recognition of Hispanic Americans by approving Public Law 100-42, expanding the celebration from one week to one month. 

Throughout history, Hispanic Americans have played an important role in the shaping the United States. Their influences can be seen in many different aspects of American life from the fine arts and education to government and law. Notable people of Hispanic heritage have inspired others with their deeds and contributions. 

For example, David Barkley was the first Hispanic American to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. During World War I, he voluntarily swam the icy Meuse River in France to gather information behind German lines. 

The first Costa Rican astronaut was Franklin Chang-Dìaz, and, as of 2004, he was one of only two astronauts to have served on seven space missions. Chang-Dìaz is also the director of the Advanced Space Propulsion Laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center, where he has been developing a plasma rocket. 

The first Hispanic American to serve in Congress was Joseph Marion Hernandez, who was elected by fellow citizens as the territorial delegate for Florida in 1822. 

Later in life Hernandez would join the Army and retired with the rank of brigadier general after fighting and aiding in the capture of Chief Osceola of the Seminole tribe. 

For more information about Hispanic history and McConnell's Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, people can call Staff Sgt. Sasidi Flores at 759-3680.