National Hispanic Heritage Month: 49 years of observation

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually on Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Americans observe national Hispanic heritage by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

“Here at Peterson Air Force Base we plan to conclude the celebration of the event with a luncheon at The Club Oct. 13 with guest speaker, Victor Santiago, a local Colorado Springs native and Veteran of the 65th Infantry Regiment Borinqueneers of Puerto Rico,” said Airman 1st Class Naoshi Pfeffer, 561 Network Operations Squadron monitoring management technician. “He was a United States Congressional Gold Medal recipient.”

Hispanics have the second fastest growing population in the U.S. Today, Hispanics make up 18 percent of the U.S. population, up from 5 percent in 1970, according to a news station in New York City.

“We will also have traditional Mexican folkloric dances presented by Ballet Folklorico de Pueblo from Pueblo, Colorado to end the day at The Club with flair,” said Pfeffer. “A troupe, which performs traditional Hispanic song and dance dressed in a colorful assortment of costumes, will show appreciation for the rich culture that is Hispanic Heritage.”

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988.

The day of Sept. 15 is significant because it’s the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sep. 18, respectively.