Over the years Americans have observed the National Hispanic Heritage month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, it’s a month to honor, recognize and celebrate the culture and its achievements.

Sept. 15 was chosen as the start date of the celebration to coincide with the Independence Day celebration of five Hispanic-American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. However, Mexico and Chile observe their Independence on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.

During this event, the audience learned of the background history of the Hispanic Americans. Members of the audience were treated to traditional Hispanic music, dances and food.

Staff Sgt. Cybelle Rey, a human resources noncommissioned officer with Task Force Lifeliner, recited a famous Hispanic poem from the early 20th century. The poem known as “Yo misma fui mi ruta”, (I Was My Own Route) was written by Puerto Rican Julia De Burgos.

Col. Robert M. Villalobos, the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) Chief of Staff and the guest speaker of the observance, highlighted the Hispanic American servicemembers who have fought and served in ranks of the United States military, from its beginnings.

He added that they have always served in the Army from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War II, Vietnam, Iraq and today in Afghanistan. Villalobos, explained, “Hispanic Americans have defended our nation and demonstrated their allegiance to America with their military service.”

“We left our language, Families and traditions,” explained Rey, a native of San Antonio. “It’s good to be able to celebrate who we are at least once a year. It keeps us close to our roots.”

Although this is a way to keep up with their traditions, it is also a way to educate others.

Celebrating Hispanic culture is imperative due to its continued and overwhelming role and influence on the American way of life.