WASHINGTON, DC Their names and actions span the centuries and are recorded in battlefields, walls of honor, monuments and the pages of our nation’s military history. Their selfless sacrifices, sense of duty and indomitable valor have ensured their place in our pantheon of heroes. They have helped change our world for the better. These are the inestimable contributions Latinos have made to America through their service in our country’s armed forces.
On September 14th, the U.S. Army honored this legacy at a gala reception titled Generaciones: Centuries of Service and Valor, held at the St. Regis Hotel. The event serves as the first of a month-long series of U.S. Army sponsored functions, educational initiatives, and community activities that will coincide with the nation’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th through October 15th, 2004).
Among the invited guests were war veterans, senior military leaders and General Officers from all armed services, members of Congress, community and civic leaders, as well as educators. Sergeant José M. López, a San Antonio resident and the oldest living Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, will also be on hand. Sgt. López received the nation’s highest military honor for his valor during the Battle of the Bulge on December 17th, 1944.
Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month the U.S. Army will participate in numerous scheduled functions, such as the 25th Annual U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Convention, in Austin, Texas; the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute Convention in Chicago, Illinois; and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Gala Dinner in Washington, D.C.
Army-initiated activities will also take place, such as the Tour of Hispanic Heroes which will bring Latino soldiers to selected high schools in Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, Miami and San Antonio for in-class presentations about Latino contributions to the military. English/Spanish public service announcements for radio and TV have also been produced, as well as a special web component on the http://www.goarmy.com website all of which are scheduled to run during this 30-days of Hispanic Heritage Month.
“We are proud to have the U.S. Army play such an integral part in all of these activities that celebrate the unique heritage and contributions of Hispanics to our country,” said Colonel Thomas Nickerson, US Army Accessions Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky.