Hispanics continue to serve with pride
“Hispanics: Serving and leading our nation with pride and honor” is this year’s theme for the month-long observation from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
The U.S. has more than 33 million Hispanics from more than 20 different countries with various linguistic differences, sometimes creating difficulties communicating with each other because of the words used and how they are said.
Retired Lt. Col. Osvaldo Piñero, guest speaker and a Puerto Rico native, explained, “We’re not that hard to understand. It’s pretty simple. We have a deep faith in God; we have a deep commitment to our family, and a deep love of our country.”
Hispanics are the police officers, first responders who protect the neighborhoods. Hispanics are the teachers and mentors of your children, they are the business owners and operators that help grow the economy, and they have always been members of the armed forces, Piñero said.
“We have fought and died to defend the liberties and security of the United States in every war since the American Revolution,” he said.
The nation’s population of more than 316 million people includes families with bloodlines from every corner of the world, many of whom have spilled their blood in every corner of the world in the defense for freedom of others. A nation with a wide range of nationalities and backgrounds, Hispanics have preserved the rich, heritage of past generations.
In the War of 1812, a battalion of Hispanics from the Canary Islands fought alongside Gen. Andrew Jackson’s troops to defeat the British in New Orleans. Some other campaigns include the Mexican-American War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam. It was the Boriqueneers of Puerto Rico’s 65th Infantry Regiment during the Korean War who fought in the last recorded battalion-sized bayonet charge and overran the Chinese 149th Division near Seoul.
“ Our dis t inguished Hispanic legacy, selfless sacrifice and service continue to present day in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Fort Gordon,” Piñero said.
As a Hispanic leader, military service has provided Piñero with his greatest challenges and greatest rewards. After leaving the military this summer, there were no speeches, party, and zero regrets.
“It’s a privilege and honor to have been afforded the opportunity to serve and lead,” he said. “I’m just another American.”
To be American is more than a matter of where people are, or where their parents and grandparents came from. Hispanics understand their Hispanic-American heritage is everybody’s heritage in the U.S. as the country’s heritage is theirs.
“We Hispanic always have and always will serve our nation with pride and honor,” he said.