SAN DIEGO – Sailors from amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with pride and honor during a iesta hosted by the Multicultural Committee at Mariners Park, Oct. 10.
This year's theme, "Serving and Leading Our Nation with Pride and Honor," and recognize the many Hispanic and Latino Americans that serve our nation in various roles and highlight the significant contributions they have made in all sectors of society.
The festivities at Mariners Park included presentations on Hispanic-American Celebration History and guest speaker Master Chief Machinist’s Mate Jesus Silva sharing his pride and reflection.
"Where does the pride come from? As a Mexican-American, I’m a first-generation American; my parents came from Mexico. They came across the border from Chihuahua and Texas in a border town called Juarez and El Paso,” shared Silva to fellow shipmates at the park’s small outdoor amphitheater.
“That pride comes from your family and your parents. That’s where my pride comes from, but it also translated over in the Navy," said the Engineering departmental leading chief petty officer. "As I was growing up, my dad would always say you’re a Silva, you got to be proud of that’, so as I joined the Navy that value and that importance of having pride I also saw that as being important in Navy."
The celebration continued with Aviation Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Liz Camacho-Gonzalez performing the traditional song “Sin El” (Without Him), followed later by Fireman Ana Parada’s original spoken word “En Tu Honor” (In Your Honor). A salsa dance demonstration by Operations Specialist 2nd Class Erica Pizano and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class George Busto wrapped up the main portion of the fiesta.
Following the presentations, the committee invited guests to some authentic Latin cuisine. A moment later, a Mexican Mariachi band surprised the crowd, as they at food and cake.
“We had a great turnout for this year’s Hispanic Heritage month celebration; I could see that everyone … enjoyed the presentation, food and music,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Ana Nuñes, president of the Peleliu Multicultural Committee.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and expanded later by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. Starting Sept. 15, in connection with the anniversary of Independence of Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, the month includes Mexico’s and Chile’s celebrations of Independence Day on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively.
Hispanic-Americans have displayed courage and valor in our Navy and Marine Corps, serving in virtually every at-sea and shore conflict in American history, from 1812 to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.