Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

  • Published
  • By A1C Yendi Borjas
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. – Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions and profound influence the Hispanic community has made on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, traditions, and multi-ethnic customs.

It started in 1968, when President Lyndon Johnson implemented a weeklong observation for Hispanic/Latin cultures to honor their contributions to the United States. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan expanded the week to a 30-day period, beginning on Sept. 15 and ending on Oct. 15.

The celebration of the month has allowed for many Hispanic/Latin American military members to indulge in their cultures despite their distance from home.

“I have been blessed with such a great team that has allowed me to take time to attend celebrations,” said Airman 1st Class Jackeline Londono, 28th Health Care Operation Squadron aerospace medical technician. “We recently held a Hispanic Heritage event at the Exchange where we served traditional Hispanic meals to Airmen across the base. Thanks to my leadership giving me the opportunity to participate in the event, I could connect with my culture and help out while showcasing my background.”

Across the base, leadership has shown support and acknowledged the need for diverse groups on base to help people of all ethnicities and backgrounds feel a sense of belonging. The Latin American Raiders are a newly approved group on base that aims to continue holding celebrations such as the one held at the Base Exchange.

“Just being able to get approval for the Latin American Raiders has been very helpful,” said Londono. “It allows us to connect and continue to bring in people with diverse backgrounds.”

The sense of pride that Airmen hold in their various cultures encourages them to want to share pieces of their life with everyone. For example, food is one prominent aspect in Hispanic/Latin culture that is used to create a sense of community.

“I enjoy sharing food with people,” said Tech. Sgt. Eunice Ramos, 28th Security Forces Squadron unit training manager. “I think food is a way of bringing people together, which I think plays into my Hispanic background because food was a big part of my family.”

Whether it is through food, music, history or art, the observation of the contributions made by Hispanic/Latino communities to the United States is a celebration that everyone can participate in.

“I think the observation of Hispanic/Latino heritage gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy and learn about the diversity within each culture,” said Ramos. “It is observed in one month, but I think it is an all-year thing.”