‘Faith, family, fun’ message wraps Hispanic Heritage Month activities

  • Published
  • By Kevin Gaddie
  • Team Eglin Public Affairs


The Hispanic Heritage Month Committee hosted its closing event here Oct. 14.

Alex Gracia, an Air Force Research Laboratory science and technology planner, was the guest speaker.  His message was about uniting the Latin and Air Force communities through faith, family and fun.

He was born in Miami of Colombian parents.  He said his mother taught him the importance of faith.

“We went to Mass every Sunday,” he said.  “My faith sustained me when I joined the Air Force Academy.  I worked hard and didn’t wait for someone to hand me anything.  Though I was a minority there, I never experienced any negativity because I was Latino.”

Gracia spoke about how his aunt balances her Colombian heritage with her American citizenship.

“She said it’s like having two hearts,” he said.  “I have a heart for my Colombian family and heritage, and I have another heart for America, the country that received us with open arms.  Mine and my family’s blood may be Colombian, but we are Americans.”

Gracia said fun is a cornerstone of Latin culture.  

“Anyone who gets invited to a Latin home will usually find music and dancing,” he said.  “It’s an element of who we are.”

In closing, Gracia encouraged Latinos in the audience to share more of their ideas of faith, family and fun in the Air Force community.

“One of your Air Force brothers or sisters may be going through something, at work or in a relationship,” he said.  “Share your faith with them.  Bring someone from another nationality into your home.  Bring some fun to your unit or squadron.   Use what our culture has, to make a difference around you.”