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Hanscom celebrates Hispanic heroes of past, present

Hispanic American Heritage Month is observed annually from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. This year’s theme was “Honoring the Past, Securing the Future,” and recognized the accomplishments of Hispanic-Americans to the U.S. armed forces in World War II. (Graphic by Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute)

Hispanic American Heritage Month is observed annually from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. This year’s theme was “Honoring the Past, Securing the Future,” and recognized the accomplishments of Hispanic-Americans to the U.S. armed forces in World War II. (Graphic by Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute)

Hanscom hosted a virtual Hispanic-American Heritage Month event Oct. 14 to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions to the U.S. military by members who trace their heritage to Latin America. The 2020 theme, “Honoring the Past, Securing the Future,” was recognized in conjunction with the 75th World War II Anniversary Commemoration Program and the contributions made by Hispanic Americans during the war.

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Hanscom hosted a virtual Hispanic-American Heritage Month event Oct. 14 to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions to the U.S. Military by members who trace their heritage to Latin America.

The 2020 theme, “Honoring the Past, Securing the Future,” was recognized in conjunction with the  75th World War II Anniversary Commemoration Program and the contributions made by Hispanic Americans during the war.

“Since its creation in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the strong influence Hispanic Americans have brought to the United States based on a culture of family, faith, and hard work,” said Col. Katrina Stephens, installation commander, in a video played during the event.

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place annually from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

The virtual event paid tribute to Hispanic Americans who demonstrated selfless service and sacrifice in the U.S. armed forces from World War II to present times.

“Hispanic Americans fought in every major theater during World War II,” said 1st Lt. Jeffery Wood, organizer for the event. “Latinas were able to use their bilingualism to advance our Intel and cryptology during the war. They broke through gender and cultural barriers to serve.”

During the event, speakers highlighted how the work ethic and pride instilled in Hispanic families has influenced their military careers. 

“My culture taught me to always be my best, set goals, and always bring others along with you,” said Lt. Col. Taona Enriquez, keynote speaker for the event. “Everything is about family, and helping those around you.”

Enriquez, an Albuquerque, New Mexico, native, shared her family’s history and culture with participants and explained how her mother and grandmother continue to inspire her to work hard and celebrate her culture alongside her accomplishments.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of Hispanic heritage and to wear the uniform,” said Enriquez. “It’s our heritage and cultures that make us diverse, and it’s that diversity that will continue to make us great.”