RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Hispanic American Heritage Month is scheduled to end Wednesday, but in the Kaiserslautern military community at least, the best is yet to come.

In fact, the community’s largest event is planned for the weekend after the end of the official observance. A banquet at Armstrong’s Club in Vogelweh on Friday will culminate the monthlong activities, which began Sept. 15.

“The banquet itself is huge; sometimes we have to print extra tickets or try to get the club to [allow] more. [It’s] the climax of it all,” said Tech Sgt. Laron Washington, military equal opportunity adviser at Ramstein Air Base.

The Kaiserslautern area has had 12 events so far, with two events, including the banquet, still on tap. Washington — who has been a military equal opportunity adviser for seven years and has served at a number of bases organizing such events — said that elsewhere where he has served there have been an average of four to five events.

“The size [of the Kaiserslautern community] has a lot to do with it, to include our partners with the Army and the different branches of the military,” Washington said.

“This is one of the biggest [Hispanic months] I’ve been a part of and I’ve been at a few bases doing this job.”

Hispanic American Heritage Month began as a one-week celebration in 1968, under a proclamation by President Johnson. It was extended to one month by President Reagan in 1988, Washington said.

The month, like others honoring different ethnic groups, are opportunities to recognize what those groups have added to American culture, Washington said.

“[The observances] are not just for that specific group ...,” he said. “It’s for everyone to sit down and understand all of the benefits that Hispanic American heritage individuals, Native Americans, African Americans and Asian Pacific Islanders — the whole gamut — provide.”

Bases in Europe have marked the month with a variety of local events, as well as performances by the touring musical group, Hot Molina.

For details on remaining events at local bases, contact the community equal opportunity office.

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