Contest: Hispanic Heritage Month Essays
Editor's note: The following essays were the other two finalists in the Hispanic Heritage Month Essay Contest.
'A Christmas Tradition'
A Christmas tradition that I look forward to is the Posadas.
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church and La Capilla de Santisima Trinidad gather together in preparation for the birth of Jesus at Advent.
Praying the rosary and singing, carrying lighted candles, we go from house to house as the Holy Family did looking for a place for Jesus to be born.
We sing in Spanish, "Will you let us in? My name is Joseph and my wife is Mary; she is going to give birth to the savior of the world," and the response from the inside, "I don't know who you are, I don't care, go away."
Joseph supplicates at another door, "Please let us in; our baby is about to be born." The response this time, "Is that you, Joseph, and you, Mary? Yes, we know who you are; come in, we have room for you."
See, Jesus is not going to be born in a manger this time. He will be born in our hearts.
Afterward, there is a fiesta, with lots of good food and music. "Ya viene las posadas que lindas estaran!" is played on the guitar and accordion.
We smile and sing with joy in our hearts.
Cecilia Villarreal Gutierrez, Victoria
'Learning through the Marine Corps'
As I grew up my parents always had installed old fashion values showing us right from wrong. They showed me how to work hard, get a education and do my best in everything I do in my life while treating others with respect.
I ended up spending 20 years in the Marines, earning my bachelor's degree and even took classes online while I was in Afghanistan and Iraq.
I always took part in military Hispanic culture festivals at the different military bases I was at sharing my portion of this area.
I served as a mentor to young Hispanic migrant workers to show them anything in life is possible in this wonderful country of ours. I received a National Hispanic Leadership Award in 2002 for the things I have done in my community because of the pride and respect that was installed in me through my Hispanic heritage.
Even today as a assistant Scout master, I tell old folk stories that were told to me as a young boy at the campfire.
All these values are what I love about my Hispanic heritage.
It is something that made my life successful, and it is surely something that I am passing on to my kids and they will pass on to theirs.
Gilbert A. Ramon, Victoria, retired United States Marine Corps