National Hispanic Heritage Month highlights the people, histories, cultures and contributions

Sep. 15—Over the next 30 days, we will celebrate the people, histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Every year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct.15.

The observation of National Hispanic Heritage Month began 53 years ago as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the observation to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 and ending on Oct. 15. It was enacted into law on Aug. 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

It may seem odd to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month over the span or parts of two months, but there is reason. According to “The day of Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30-day period.”

Over the next 30 days, we hope you take time to explore the rich contributions that Hispanic culture has made to society. The website www.hispan is a tremendous resource as the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration have teamed up to provide plenty of information.

We are hopeful that schools in Whitfield and Murray counties will take time to highlight Hispanic culture, and those who have given so much to us.

Angelia S. Rico

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