Many backgrounds, many stories, one American Spirit

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jessica Tabor
  • 28th Bomb Wing Equal Opportunity
Each year, Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized from Sept. 15 trhough Oct. 15. President Ronald Reagan enacted this special observance month in 1988. Sept. 15 was chosen because of the anniversary of independence for five Hispanic countries.

The theme this year encompasses a rich background that spreads across the world. From Mexico to Cuba, South America to Europe, the Hispanic American Heritage is rich with traditions and contributes 16 percent to the population of the United States.

The background of the Hispanic culture is embedded in the history of the United States. History confirms that the United States has had a Hispanic presence longer than any other group after Native Americans. Juan Ponce de Leon, a native of Spain and the first governor of Puerto Rico, discovered Florida -- or La Florida -- in 1513. The discovery of Florida is a stepping stone to the history that Hispanic Americans continue to make.

Sonia Sotmayer recently made history by becoming the third female and first Hispanic to be appointed to serve as a Supreme Court justice. President Barack Obama nominated her in May 2009; the senate confirmed her nomination in August 2009. Her story is about overcoming barriers.

"I was raised in a Bronx public housing project, but studied at two of the nation's finest universities," Sotmayer said.

While there are many different stories and backgrounds that contribute to the Hispanic population one thing will always stand true, the honor of being called a Hispanic American. Regardless of any person's background, or story, there will always be only one American spirit. Spirit can be defined as an enthusiastic loyalty. This loyalty is apparent in work centers, communities and country. While it may be Hispanic Heritage Month, people should take the time to remember their own background and stories. In the end, we are all one American spirit.