DVIDS – News – Soldier embraces Mexican heritage, proud to be American

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Sgt. Erik Barrientos’ favorite part of serving his country is the breadth of cultures he has experienced in his 23 years of service.

As a Los Angeles-born and raised Mexican-American, he’s no stranger to diversity, but says serving alongside people from different backgrounds is an avenue that introduces him to new friends and experiences outside. out of its own box, so to speak.

“Growing up, I mostly hung out with other Mexican-Americans. Serving my country, first as a navy and now as a soldier, introduced me to other Latin cultures, ”said Barrientos. “Yes, we all speak Spanish, but our dialects are different and some words, especially slang, have different meanings between Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Ecuadorians, for example. ”

The U.S. Army celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, recognizing not only the importance of individual contributions, but also the value of diversity and an inclusive environment in the workplace, as well as in the workplace. battlefield. What started as a week in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson turned into a month-long celebration in 1988 by President Ronald Regan.

Hispanic Heritage Month includes the anniversaries of the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua on September 15, in accordance with Public Law 100-402, the law that made the month official recognition . The month also includes Mexican Independence Day on September 16, Chile’s Independence Day on September 18, and Spain’s National Day on October 12.

“The term ‘Hispanic’ encompasses a wide variety of people and cultures, and sometimes Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations focus only on the cultures of one or two countries,” Barrientos said.

Barrientos, who identifies as Mexican-American, said the best Hispanic Heritage Month celebration he attended was at Fort Hood in 2011.

“They had all the countries represented, it was fantastic,” said Barrientos. “I think he celebrated the diversity of the military very well. After all, it’s diversity, I think, that makes our military a step above all others.

The best part about being a Mexican American is that both countries are rich in culture and traditions, which makes his military service, citizenship and heritage an even greater reason to celebrate his diversity as a soldier. .

“I celebrate American independence on July 4, just as I celebrate Mexican independence on September 16,” Barrientos said. “It is a real blessing to live such a culturally rich life.

Date taken: 10.15.2021
Date posted: 10.15.2021 15:48
Story ID: 407361
Site: FORT SHAFTER, HI, UNITED STATES

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