MarForPac, PACOM unite for Hispanic heritage observance
By Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso
| | September 17, 2010
CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii --
Dozens of service members and civilian employees assigned to U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and Pacific Command gathered for the 5th annual Camp Smith Hispanic Heritage Observance Sept. 17 at the PACOM headquarters building, here.
The event highlighted the contributions Hispanics have made to the military and expose non-Hispanics to the culture.
“This observance gives us an opportunity to show our appreciation and respect for what our Hispanic service members do every day and their traditions,” said Gunnery Sgt. Larry McCutcheon, MarForPac’s equal opportunity advisor.
Guest speaker Marie Villa, editor and marketing director for Hawaii Hispanic News, began the event by presenting photos and information regarding the 22 Hispanic nations and Hispanics in Hawaii.
“We live in the best country in the world, a country that allows us to practice our ethnic traditions and be proud of who we are,” Villa said. “This is especially true when speaking about the military. You guys belong to one of the most diverse organizations in the world, an organization that acknowledges and celebrates your differences.”
Following the presentation, attendees had an opportunity to taste a few traditional dishes, such as rice, pork, beans and flan, a Hispanic dessert, as dancers demonstrated traditional Hispanic dance styles, such as Salsa and Merengue.
“It was great,” said Sgt. Jose Medrano, noncommissioned officer in charge of administration for Special Operations Command Pacific and a Marine of Mexican descent. “I loved the music, food and atmosphere. I think I was a great way to learn about our roots, especially in a place like Hawaii where there aren’t a lot of us. The dances, faces and accents reminded me of home. I hope they keep doing events like this in the future.”