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Speech



Engaging Our Hispanic Community


David Vela, National Park Service

10/12/2011

Washington, DC

Over my 20 plus years in the National Park Service, I have had the honor of working and protecting some of our nation's most cherished historic places as a Ranger, Superintendent, and Regional Director.

While working at locations such as Appomattox Court House, Independence National Historical Park, Palo Alto Battlefield, to the famed LBJ Ranch and Texas White House, I would often wonder if there was a Hispanic connection and or story to these and other special places found within the National Park Service.

The answer to my questions are yes, and Secretary Salazar is bringing together representatives from the Hispanic community to discuss how we can better tell our nation's stories and preserve its special places that honor the contributions made by Hispanic Americans.

Also, as a result of NPS Director Jon Jarvis commitment to education and making the National Park Service relevant to all Americans, Hispanics will soon have a better understanding of their sacrifices and contributions that were made on both sides during the American Civil War as we commemorate its 150th anniversary.

In the end, our nation, and current and future generations of Hispanics, will learn and be inspired by the outcomes generated from this Forum and the products produced by the National Park Service.