While Cinco De Mayo celebrates Mexican Independence, here in the United States, Independence Day on July 4th is quite popular amongst Hispanics. This should come as no surprise– given a generation or two, many have fully assimilated, so it’s only natural to feel, act and celebrate July 4th the same as any other American; yet there is ongoing online debate as to the etiquette surrounding July 4th celebrations and Hispanics. One hot topic is regarding immigration status and whether or not it should weigh into the decision to invite someone to a July 4th party. With all of the divisions and strife in the world, seriously, is this a topic worthy of debate? Indeed, anyone who shares such concerns lacks a knowledge of American history and the role played by Hispanics and their contributions towards establishing American independence.
In fact, July 4th is a celebration for all Americans and for anyone who believes in freedom and independence; these are universal concepts that span across cultural lines and are shared by people all over the world. Keep in mind that there are a growing number of Hispanics in the US military, currently Hispanics comprise approximately 11% of the active duty military forces, a percentage likely to increase given proposed immigration reforms. Even more interesting is this little known fact: Hispanics actively participated in the American revolution– there were several key individuals, including Juan de Miralles who was a friend of George Washington. A key battle , the Battle of Yorktown, might have turned out quite differently had it not been for the supplies provided to the US by the way of French and Spanish supporters. Another interesting figure in American history is Pedro Francisco, a young boy who was kidnapped, brought to America and became a successful Revolutionary War hero. The history of Hispanics in America is a long and complex one, it began centuries ago, but we all share one thing in common– a desire to be free and pursue our own happiness– July 4th is a celebration for all people, regardless of their immigration status, race or anything else.