Recently I was buying fireworks for the upcoming celebration of the Fourth of July, our nation’s independence/birthday day.
While I was looking over the selection of the artillery cannons I overheard a group of teens who were talking about their plans for the holiday.
I turned to them and asked if they would answer a question for me. I asked “Do you know why we celebrate the Fourth of July?”
The response they gave me worried me a bit.
“It’s when we won the war,” one of them said. That was a bit strange, as I was under the impression it was the day the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which declared our independence from Great Britain thus marking the birth of our nation.
So I asked “When we won the Revolutionary War?” They replied, “No when we were fighting the English.”
I shook my head and went back to buying fireworks and they returned to their holiday planning.
I would like to say this is the first time I have heard something like this, which has both shocked and saddened me.
Let's go back a few months to Cinco De Mayo (May 5). I know this is not an American holiday, but visit any college town’s bar and you would think otherwise.
I was out with a few friends having a drink and saw a group of people who were living it up. I could tell they were having a good time as many people do on that day.
One of them made a comment that provoked a response.
“Happy Cino De Mayo, the Mexicans' Independence Day!” Now I have heard this statement made before and never said anything about the incorrect declaration. However on that day I guess you could say I was feeling a bit unruly.
I told the man “That is not Mexico’s independence day.” He responded “What do you mean? It always has been in the past.” I told the man, “I meant no disrespect but you are wrong.”
I told him “Cinco De Mayo celebrates the day the Mexican militia defeated the French army.”
I’d like to share with you their response, but it’s a family newspaper.
Mexico’s independence day is actually Sept. 16, 1910, which means this year they will hold bicentennial celebrations for their independence from Spanish rule.
I’ve always thought that in order to truly appreciate and celebrate any holiday you first needed to know the reasons and origins of that holiday.
I’ll be the first to admit when I was younger I was more concerned about the partying than the meaning behind the holidays. But even then I knew about the holidays and their origins.
So I ask you all to take a moment this Fourth of July to remember those brave souls of the 13 colonies who fought for our independence and forged this great nation.
Happy 234th birthday, America.
Thomas Garcia writes for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at: email@example.com