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Coast Guard celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

By Contribution from Rear Adm. Richard V. Timme, Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy and, U.S. Coast Guard, Headquarters Hispanic Heritage Month Executive Champion

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Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes and celebrates the contributions that Americans who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture. The observance started in 1968 when Congress authorized the president to issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. Just two decades later, lawmakers expanded it to a month-long celebration, stretching from September 15 to October 15.

The U.S. Coast Guard salutes the achievements of Hispanic Americans as our entire country commemorates National Hispanic Heritage Month. The Coast Guard’s theme for this year's celebration is “Hispanics: A Proud Past, Embracing the Future.” The theme calls on all of us to reflect on, and increase our awareness of the history, culture, and many achievements American citizens of Hispanic origins have made to our country.

Hispanic Americans have served with distinction in the Coast Guard since the 1820s. They have served as light house keepers in the Revenue Service and as surfmen at Life-Saving Service stations. Many gave their lives in the performance of their duties and others were decorated for their heroism. These personnel pioneered the way ahead for all minorities and their efforts have benefitted all who serve in the U.S. military, federal government, and the Nation as a whole.

Coast Guard commands and units are encouraged to celebrate the numerous accomplishments and contributions of Hispanic Americans to our Service and to our Nation. Under the U.S. Coast Guard’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan, this is an opportunity to reinforce that sense of belonging under the Line of Effort 1: Development of Diversity and Inclusion Acumen. Events like this help us build and maintain an inclusive total workforce.