NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Workforce Celebrates Hispanic Heritage

     Cultural diversity was on display at NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka headquarters during a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration Oct. 4 on board Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka.

     “As we celebrate Hispanic heritage today, we understand that the rich culture we refer to when we use the term Hispanic is the result of a unique blending of other cultures, traditions, and nationalities; each with its own history and character,” said Capt. Edward Butzirus, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Distribution Yokosuka Japan, commanding officer. “Whether you have roots in Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Puerto Rico or the many other countries where there is the Spanish language and customs, the similarities and the differences should all be celebrated.”

     The U.S. Navy conducts activities in observance of nine specified diversity-related groups, events or individuals throughout the year.

     These special observances are conducted to recognize the continuous achievements of all Americans to American culture and to increase awareness, mutual respect, and understanding. They are designed to enhance cross-cultural and cross-gender awareness and promote harmony among all military members, their families and the civilian workforce.

     The guest speaker for the event was Junior Zapata, a distant relative of General Emiliano Zapata, a leading figure in the Mexican revolution.

     Junior Zapata is a U.S. Navy veteran who spent 12 years in the service and shared a quote from his famous relative, “I rather die on my feet than live upon my knees.”

     Zapata shared that he takes great pride in being a Mexican American and that during his time in the Navy he never experienced any discrimination.

     The event highlighted much of the history and accomplishments of Hispanic Americans in society as well as several live traditional Hispanic dance performances from Yokosuka Middle School students.

     The event culminated with the breaking of a piñata and the nearly 100 guests enjoying a feast of traditional Hispanic food dishes.

     “Congratulations to the members of our NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka Multi Cultural Committee,” said Cmdr. Paul Dougherty, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka, executive officer. “Their hard work, late night hours and commitment have made this event something very special for everyone involved.”

By Sky Laron, NAVSUP FLC Yokosuka