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NRO celebrates Hispanic Americans' contributions to national security

By Staff National Reconnaissance Office

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Activists, astronauts, athletes, medical pioneers, entertainers, politicians, Nobel Laureates, Medal of Honor recipients, and a Supreme Court Justice, Hispanic Americans have contributed to the nation by touching every sector of our lives.  These contributions are embodied in the 2019 Hispanic Heritage Month theme "Hispanic Americans: A History of Serving Our Nation."

Hispanic-Americans have a long history of protecting the nation having fought courageously in every war since the Revolutionary War and served in nearly every level of government. This rich heritage of service to country is continued in the men and women of Hispanic- American descent in the NRO workforce who work hard each day to protect the security and freedoms of the United States. Their incredible contributions and steadfast commitment make it possible for the NRO to accomplish its mission.

The observation of Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was later expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period beginning September 15 through October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402. During this time period Americans celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

In recognition of the Hispanic - American month, the following is a partial list of the many talented men and women who contributed to and enriched our nation in various ways.

Hilda Solis – Former United States Secretary of Labor

Sonia Sotomayor - Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Jorge Ramos- News anchor and the winner of eight Emmy Awards

Sylvia Mendez - Paved the way for school desegregation in the United States as a prerequisite to Brown vs. Board of Education

Felix Longoria and Hector P. Garcia - Helped bring recognition to Hispanic World War II Veterans and founded the American G.I. Forum

Roberto Clemente - Baseball trailblazer

Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta - Co-founders of the United Farm Workers Union

Nydia Velazquez - First Puerto Rican elected to Congress

Rodolfo Gonzalez - Poet and champion of the Chicano movement

Ellen Ochoa - First Hispanic to leave Earth's atmosphere

Franklin Chang -Díaz --  Astronaut

Richard E. Cavazos - First Hispanic Four-Star General

Albert Baez - Co-inventor of the X-ray microscope

Master Sergeant Raul Perez "Roy" Benavidez - Medal of Honor recipient

 Alfred Velazquez Rascon - Medal of Honor recipient and the 10th director of the Selective Service System

Joan Baez - Folk singer and activist

Jean-Michel Basquiat- Neo-expressionist painter and artist

Dr. Severo Ochoa - Doctor and biochemist - Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1959 for synthesizing RNA (ribonucleic acid)

Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa - Neurosurgeon, author, researcher, and Chair of Neurologic Surgery at the Mayo Clinic

Oscar de la Hoya - Boxing champion Fernando Vargas - U.S. Olympian and boxing champion

Christina Aguilera- Pop singer

Lin Manuel-Miranda- Actor, singer, song writer winner of Pulitzer Prize and Tony, Grammy and Emmy Awards

Jennifer Lopez- Singer and actress

Gloria Estefan- Pop singer

Rita Moreno- Actress, singer, dancer

Richard Serra- Sculptor

Mario Molina-  Chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995 for explaining the threat to the Earth’s ozone layer

Antonio Mendez- CIA Technical Operations Officer, writer, artist

The information in this article was obtained from the Hispanic Heritage Month website, www.hispanicheritagemonth.org.