News: Naval Station Norfolk Hosts Celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month
Story by Sgt. Shanika Futrell
By Seaman Shanika L. Futrell
Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic
NORFOLK, Va. – Sailors came out to support, learn and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Oct. 15, 2008, during an observance on Naval Station Norfolk.
Hispanic Heritage Month, which started Sept. 15 and lasts until Oct. 15, is a time to learn and recognize the contributions Hispanic Americans have made throughout the years.
The theme for the observance was "Hispanic Americans' Commitment to Service." During the event there was a salsa demonstration and a reading of the Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation written by President George W. Bush.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Elizabeth Haywood read the proclamation that was written in honor of Hispanic Heritage month. Celebrating Hispanic Heritage began with President Lyndon B. Johnson, who in 1968 dedicated a week to Hispanic Americans. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded it to a month of celebrating Hispanic culture.
Lt. Latecia Soto, a recent winner of the prestigious Latina Service Excellence Award, explained what Hispanic Heritage means to her.
"Diversity is something that makes this country strong," said Soto. "This is the time to reflect on Hispanic values, culture and some of the people who have made an impact that has lasted for years."
Members of the Mambo Room dance facility invited several Sailors on the stage to learn New York-style salsa and mambo.
"It was exciting to see the smiles on the participants' faces as we lead them step-by-step through the salsa," said Tracy Holland.
Holland's partner Leroy Windfield added that he enjoyed spending time to teach something he loves in hopes that they will enjoy the dance as much as he does.
As the observance celebration for Hispanic Heritage month came to an end, Soto added, "There is almost 10 percent of Hispanic and Latino who are in the military which is the highest it has ever been, I'm proud of my heritage and I believe that the American Dream is for everyone."