As we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we have the opportunity to hear stories from our Tillman Scholars as they reflect on what this month means to them. This week’s story comes from 2020 Tillman Scholar Marco Segura. Despite growing up undocumented, Marco’s persistance to become a U.S. citizen so that he could serve his country never faltered.
“Growing up undocumented in Virginia, I was provided with a different perspective in understanding my desire to serve. By virtue of being a Hispanic sailor, I have been able to connect with people who share my same background. As a Hispanic American, knowing that everyday I put on the uniform, young Hispanic sailors can see a role model in their shoes, as I looked to my role model, Captain David Iglesias.”
Honoring the strides made by sailors past, Marco describes his celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month by representing and advancing the proud traditions of Hispanic Americans and sailors.
“I try to celebrate my heritage by being the best sailor I can be. Standing on the shoulders of great Navy sailors such as David Farragut, Horacio Rivero, and Senior Chief Juan Rosa, I am reminded of our proud tradition as Hispanic Americans in the Navy. This heritage allows me to bestow knowledge and history to our younger sailors.”
Marco does not view Hispanic Heritage Month as a dichotomy of his Peruvian background to his American values, but rather a chance to better merge the two. These two facets of Marco’s culture represent the beauty and progress of our country’s diversity.
“Hispanic Heritage Month means honoring my Peruvian background while also upholding my American values. It represents Hispanic men and women who have changed America to create a more perfect Union. Witnessing the struggles and sacrifices of those Hispanics that came before me to pursue a better life for all service members.
It means navigating two worlds simultaneously, while celebrating the duality of our backgrounds. We are nonetheless Americans who serve their country with pride and love to its people.”