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NEWPORT, R.I. – Navy Supply Corps School (NSCS) and Naval Station Newport (NWPT) sailors celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month Oct. 2.
With a national theme of "Hispanics: Serving and Leading Our Nation with Pride and Honor," the observance celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
The U.S. government first officially celebrated Hispanic heritage in 1968, when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a week in mid-September to be National Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended the observance to a full month. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
"We celebrate the things that make our country great, and to educate others about our history and culture," said Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Kristopher Freyburg, administration leading chief petty officer assigned to NWPT.
"Hispanic Sailors have served with distinction since the inception of the U.S. military," said Freyburg. "All races come together to share ideas and concepts in the Navy. All Sailors belong to the larger Navy family and should learn how Hispanic Americans have influenced both American and Naval history."
According to 2010 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics comprise 16.3 percent of the total United States population, or 50.5 million people, forming our county's largest racial or ethnic minority. Additionally, it is projected that by 2050, a quarter of the nation's workforce will be Hispanic.
Marco Camacho, Newport City Councilman said the military is very supportive of immigrants and provides everyone an equal chance to succeed.
Camacho and his parents immigrated to Newport, R.I., from Madeira, Portugal in 1979. After graduating from Providence College, he received a commission in the U.S. Army and served as an infantryman and Airborne Ranger, achieving the rank of Captain.
“The military embodies the fighting spirit of our country,” said Camacho. Everyone in attendance contributes to the great ideals that our founding fathers hoped to achieve. Everyone in the military can trace their lineage to another country but we all come together when we don the uniform of our country. We are one family.”
Camacho also presented a city-wide proclamation of Hispanic Heritage Month in the city of Newport.
“It’s important to honor and celebrate different cultures,” said Camacho. “America has opened up her arms to me and my family. I come from a family of immigrants and I’ve always strived to give back to the country that gave me so much. Hispanic culture is as multi-faceted as American culture. Hispanic culture is American culture.”
The more than 3,000 active duty and reserve officers of the Navy Supply Corps are responsible for supply and logistics support for the ships of the active fleet and hundreds of Naval shore installations worldwide, providing combat capability through logistics.