Joint Base San Antonio held its annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration at the Fort Sam Houston Theater to kick-off Hispanic Heritage month, which runs through the month of October. The event uniquely highlights the rich history and valuable impact that Latinos bring to San Antonio and specifically to our military. The event began with a gallery walk of flags from a variety of Latino nations, performances from the Ballet Folklorico Festival, the Guerrera Quetzalli Mariachi, and support from the members of the Sociedad Cultural Hispano Americana de San Antonio. LTC D’Angelo Blount, the Commander of the San Antonio Recruiting Battalion, 5th Recruiting Brigade, introduced former Chamber Chairman and San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros as the keynote speaker. Cisneros provided insightful remarks about the influence of this growing population in America.
“There are pockets, if you will, of Latinos spread across the country,” he said. “They tend be liberal and conservative. They are democrats and republicans, Catholics and evangelicals. They are a mix of people from a rich history, with a deep and long history.” He talked about the uncertain future of Latinos, one where opportunities need to be created. He is optimistic for the generations to come, if we can be committed to their educational needs and offer them options in employment and networking. Cisneros closed his remarks by recognizing the large population of Hispanics serving in the military. Despite their current minority status, Cisneros pointed out that Hispanics are largely represented in the armed forces, and in the number Medal of Honor winners. “It runs at every step of the Army hierarchy from incoming privates to four-star generals who have made a great contribution. It’s something we as Latinos are proud of and I think the country has been well-served,” Cisneros said. He also said he hopes that military recruitment efforts will continue to expand and reach Latino communities nationally and in the San Antonio area.
The event concluded with the Armed Forces Medley and an opportunity for attendees to lunch outdoors with a variety of Latino-inspired foods.