"Hispanics: Serving and Leading Our Nation with Pride and Honor" is the theme of this year's Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Fort Riley will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with an observance from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Sept. 18 at Riley's Conference Center, 446 Seitz Drive on Main Post.
The event will feature a food sampling of Hispanic foods, a guest speaker tied to the Hispanic community, cultural music and informational displays about Hispanic culture.
"I think observances help give recognition of cultures to the community, including Soldiers (who) may not know a lot of things about that ethnic group or may be interested in learning about that ethnic group," said Staff Sgt. William Ashmore, 2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, and 4th IBCT Equal Opportunity adviser. "The events sometimes might help people who are moving to a particular ethnic area."
Hispanic Heritage Month began as a weeklong observance in 1968, when it was first declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1988, President Ronald Regan extended the observance to one month. Sept. 15 is the chosen day to begin the observance because it is the date that five Latin-American countries declared their independence from Spain in 1821.
Ashmore said he thinks the post's observances lead to a stronger cultural diversity in the Fort Riley community.
"This year and last year, we've seen a record amount of people," Ashmore said. "There are a lot of Soldiers and civilians coming (to the observances) now."
About 150 people are expected to attend the Hispanic Heritage Month Observance at Riley's Conference Center.
For more information about the observance, visit www.riley.army.mil/UnitPage.aspx?unit=EO.