Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15 - October 15, 2004
"In 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim a week in September as National Hispanic Heritage Week. The observance was expanded in 1988 to a monthlong celebration (Sept. 15-Oct. 15). During this month, America celebrates the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Sept. 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively."
"The estimated Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2003, is 39.9 million, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest race or ethnic minority. Hispanics constitute 13.7 percent of the nation’s total population. (This estimate does not include the 3.9 million residents of Puerto Rico.)"
"Forty percent (40%) of the Hispanic population was foreign-born in 2002. Among the foreign-born Hispanic population that year, 52 percent entered the United States between 1990 and 2002."
"The number of Latino veterans of the U.S. armed forces numbers 1.1 million. About 63,000 Hispanic-origin people were on active duty in 2002 in the United States."
U.S. Census Bureau