2013 Hispanic Heritage Month and Community Events Published Sept. 7, 2013 By Maj. Kristina Garuti 103rd Airlift Wing BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week, which was observed during the week that included September 15th and 16th. In 1988, National Hispanic Heritage Week was expanded by President Ronald Reagan to become Hispanic Heritage month, beginning on September 15th and ending on October 15th. The reason Hispanic Heritage Month begins in the middle of September is because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16th and September 18th, respectively. During this month, America celebrates the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The word "Hispanic" is derived from the word Hispania, the name given by the Romans to the entire Iberian Peninsula, which includes Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar. Some Portuguese and Brazilians may or may not refer to themselves as Hispanics, as well. It is believed that the usage of the word Hispanic as an ethnic indicator in the United States came into mainstream prominence following its inclusion in a question in the 1980 U.S. Census, which asked people to voluntarily identify if they were of "Spanish/Hispanic origin or descent." The term Hispanic is currently used to refer to Spanish-speaking people in the United States of any race. In May 2014, the Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission (LPRAC) will be hosting its 8th Annual Tribute to Hispanic Veterans in Hartford. The coordinators for next year's Tribute event are already looking for the names and stories of individuals to honor. If you have a family member or friend who is in the military and you wish to share their story for next year, please call telephone number 860-240-8330 for further information or e-mail the Special Projects committee staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.