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News | Oct. 2, 2018

Distribution celebrates the diverse legacy of Hispanic heritage

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

DLA Distribution Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, along with DLA Distribution’s Multicultural Committee, planned a celebration of the culture, traditions and history of Hispanic Heritage Month with a program held on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

The Hispanic Heritage observance began 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 starting on September 15 and ending on October 15.  It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402. This year’s theme, chosen by the National Council of Hispanic Employment Managers is: “Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions.” 

DLA Distribution Susquehanna commander, Army Col. March Callis welcomed everyone in attendance and gave a brief synopsis on the history of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“We are grateful for the innumerable contributions Hispanic Americans make to our society,” explained Callis. “We are especially grateful for the 1.2 million Hispanic-American men and women who have answered the call to serve in our armed forces.” 

Callis then introduced the keynote speaker, DLA Distribution Susquehanna’s Jose Pagan-Bonilla. “Jose has a very interesting tale to tell us of hose his life journey led him through various U.S. military services and eventually here to the EDC in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.”

Pagan-Bonilla began his presentation by thanking everyone for attending, and expressing what an honor it is to serve as a material handler supervisor at DLA Distribution Susquehanna, as well as guest speaker for the event.

Pagan-Bonilla explained the importance of the Hispanic and Latino heritage and the rich and diverse cultural legacy. “From Spain to Mexica, Panama to Puerto Rico, Ecuador to Chile, and Peru to the United States of America, Hispanic people are widespread. They reflect a wealth of cultural diversity, along with a common language heritage. They have developed their own remarkable blends of music, dance, art, cultural traditions and of course food.”

He went on to say “Hispanic cultures around the world are unique in their own ways yet share a common core of similarities, a certain inner pride in what it means to be Latin.”

Hispanics today form the fastest-growing ethnic minority in the United States. Numbering at about 55 million, they make up the second largest minority in the nation, African Americans being the largest. About 60 percent of these Hispanics trace their origin to Mexico.

Additionally, the event included that National Anthem sung by Josiah DeRoos, invocation delivered by Pastor Pavel Maftey and concluded with a Spanish song performed by Juan Ramon Cornejo, Jr.