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Fort Benning, Maneuver Center of Excellence celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

(FORT BENNING, Ga) The National Hispanic Heritage Month observation continues with a celebration, September 22, 2017 at The Maneuver Center of Excellence Derby Auditorium. Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens, whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Shaping the Bright Future of America”. Command Sgt. Maj. Michael D. Sanchez, Command Sergeant Major, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry regiment was the guest speaker and McBride Elementary School students also performed. (Photo by: Patrick A. Albright/MCoE PAO Photographer)

By Jess Dupree, Fort Benning Maneuver Center of Excellence Public Affairs Office

FORT BENNING, Ga. (Sept. 26, 2017) – Members of the Fort Benning community gathered at McGinnis-Wickam Hall to celebrate Hispanic American culture and contributions during a recognition event Friday.

The United States recognizes National Hispanic American Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 every year.

According to 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry, Command Sergeant Major Michael D. Sanchez, who served as the guest speaker for this event, his Hispanic heritage was initially a point of shame during his childhood and young adulthood.

“I was ashamed and afraid of being a statistic in a negative form as a Hispanic man,” he said. “The bottom line: I was wrong, and I was immature in my ways. I really didn’t know what it was like to be a Hispanic.”

Sanchez said he grew to recognize his heritage as an opportunity rather than an obstacle, and celebrated the shared Latino culture of each Hispanic country.

Students from Morris R. McBride Elementary School read aloud and sang at the event. Alisson Owens, one of the students, read the history of the Hispanic Heritage Month.

“We recognize the contributions made by Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States, and we celebrate their heritage and culture,” she said. “This observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage week under President Lyndon B. Johnson, and was expanded by Ronald Reagan in 1988.”

The group of six students took turns reading aloud some of the works of notable Hispanic poets Jaime Monriquez, Oscar Gonzalez and Gabriela Mistral. They closed their performance with a song called “Demos Gracias,” which means “Give Thanks” in Spanish.

Sanchez said this monthlong observance allows Soldiers to recognize cultures and traditions they may share among the different Latin countries.

“We’re recognizing the Hispanic heritage throughout, because it’s not just related to one descent,” he said. “It’s just another way we fuse together to be global.”

To learn more about Hispanic culture and heritage and the U.S. Army, visit

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