Community members gathered at the Clay Chapel at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Sept. 30 in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Government agencies pay tribute to the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans and celebrate the heritage rooted in all Latin American countries from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Guest speakers for the event were Col. Samuel Ybarra, U.S. Army Europe chief of G-3 Strategic Programs Division and Sgt. Maj. Francisco J. Acosta, U.S. Army Europe G-8. It was hosted by Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion U.S. Army Europe and the 60th Geospatial Planning Cell.
Ybarra has served nearly 30 years in the Army and is from South Texas. He said his heritage taught him values such as the importance of family, hard work and honor, and that focusing on those values got him where he is today. He encouraged others to do the same.
“To my fellow Hispanics out there: As you go through your career, draw from the heritage and draw from those Hispanics who have come before you,” he said. “Work hard. Try to contribute no matter what your assignment, conduct yourself accordingly and of course serve the best country with honor, and remain true to your oath.”
Sgt. Maj. Acosta has served for 30 years in the Army and is also from South Texas. He said his upbringing taught him pride, humility and gratitude.
“Family plays a big part in who I am,” he said.
Acosta recalled the importance of homemade Mexican foods and music during his upbringing. He ended his speech with a yell, or grito, a joyous vocalization often heard in mariachi music.
Join the conversation and learn more about Hispanic art, culture music and history at hispanicheritagemonth.gov.