U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona will open the Library’s 2003 National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration with a keynote address at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 17, in Madison Hall on the first floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. , Washington, D.C. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Honoring Our Present and Leading Our Future.”

Dr. Carmona was sworn in as the 17th surgeon general of the U.S. Public Health Service on Aug. 5, 2002. Born and raised in New York City, Carmona dropped out of high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. While serving in the Army, he received his Army General Equivalency Diploma and joined the Army’s Special Forces, becoming a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran and advancing to the level of vice admiral.

Prior to being appointed surgeon general, Carmona held a number of positions in the health care system of Pima County, Ariz. These included chief medical officer, hospital chief executive officer, public health officer and chief executive officer. He also served as chairman of Arizona’s Southern Regional Emergency Medical System. With expertise in special operations

and emergency preparedness, he served as a deputy sheriff with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department and medical director of the county’s police and fire departments.

The Hispanic and Portuguese collections of the Library of Congress comprise more than 10 million items, including books, maps and retrospective holdings of government serials, newspaper and other periodicals and are believed to be the most extensive such collections in the world. For more information about the Library’s Luso-Hispanic holdings, visit the Library’s Hispanic Reading Room in person or online at