Hispanic Heritage Celebration brings culture, food, fun Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 October 2017
Community members representing numerous Hispanic cultures wave their native flags along with the American flag Tuesday at the installation Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. The event provided the community with the opportunity to learn about different Hispanic countries and territories, while sampling their culture and native foods.
Story and photos by Derek Gean
Assistant editor
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The atmosphere seemed electric as dozens of members of Fort Leonard Wood’s diverse Hispanic -American community waved the flags of their native lands in a parade up to the stage of Nutter Field House Tuesday during the installation’s Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration.

This year’s observance, themed “Hispanics: Serving and Leading our Nation with Pride and Honor,” consisted of a day-long event hosted by 14th Military Police Brigade.

Organizers said they  asked to host this because  they wanted to make it a  celebration.

Fort Leonard Wood Hispanic community members manned booths representing the different countries and territories that make up Latin America. Participants could learn facts and sample native foods. Several community members danced, provided songs and members of the Puerto Rican community performed a special tribute to their homeland in light of the recent hurricane devastation plaguing the island.

Mario Jimenez, an intelligence specialist with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois, retired Soldier and Puerto Rican native, served as guest speaker for the program.

Jimenez used the platform as an opportunity to encourage Hispanic Americans to honor their heritage and make a  difference in society.

“Making a difference motivates me to go to work every day and every day I make a difference in someone’s life,” Jimenez said.
Members of the Puerto Rican community perform a tribute to their homeland Tuesday.

He told the audience  about how people often mispronounce his name but he encouraged people to maintain the proper pronunciation and insist that people pronounce their name correctly.

“Be proud of your heritage be proud of your name. Do not anglicize it,” Jimenez said.

“Work in your area of influence, try to educate and not irritate.  Stand tall, be proud of who you are and try to educate people,”  he said.

Prior to and following the ceremony, community members could continue learning about different countries and sampling food at their own pace and special performances continued with the Waynesville High  School choir and the 399th Army Band providing  entertainment.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 October 2017 )