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Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off: A look at how it all started

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 through October 15.

SAN ANTONIO — September 15 is the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month. It's a time to celebrate the history, culture and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The remembrance has not always been a month-long observation. It actually began 1968 when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Hispanic Heritage Week bill into law.

Representative Esteban Torres of California proposed a bill to expand the observance saying more time was needed to properly observe Hispanic culture and achievement.

In 1988, the month-long observance was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.

President George H.W. Bush became the first president to declare the 31-day period beginning on September 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month.

The date is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Mexico also celebrates its independence on September 16 or Diez y Seis, followed by Chile on September 18.

Throughout the month, KENS 5 will share stories of National Hispanic Heritage Month. You will hear the amazing stories of the people, places and events that make the Hispanic heritage so important to not only San Antonio, but the nation.

You can also click here for a list of events going on in San Antonio to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

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