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Why it is important to honor Mexican Independence Day | Teen Talk
It is important to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16, because it brings to light the power of the struggle of people to hold on to what is theirs. We think that May 5 is the day to honor Mexican heritage, but that is not. As a Latina and a teen, I want people to realize the struggle for independence and honor the true date.
To give you a little history and put context to the independence, I share this brief synopsis. Hernán Cortés from Spain was an intelligent man; using his disgruntled native allies, superior weaponry and surprise, he conquered the Aztecs in 1521. From then on the Aztecs and surrounding native tribes were under the rule of Spain. Following the fall of the Aztec empire was a 300-year period of labor, oppression and struggle for the natives. The Aztecs were easily subdued by the power of the Spanish and only a few small uprisings occurred. More than likely they did not anticipate their indigenous subjugates would one day forcefully reclaim their land as their own once again. On Sept. 16, 1821, the Spanish saw this come to fruition.
Mexico had been the underdog for as long as the Spanish reigned. They made up the labor force; they changed their way of living under duress. Mexico wasn’t seen as a force to be reckoned with, at least not without Spain’s backing. Spain had a formidable army, money to spend, impressive weaponry and all the perks that come with being a colonial superpower. The significance in celebrating Mexico’s independence goes beyond merely recognizing Spain no longer ruled over Mexico and its natives. What’s truly significant about Mexico’s independence is how they achieved their independence. In the US’s war against Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh said, “You can kill 10 of our men for every one we kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and we will win.” The sentiment shown here is that although 10 of Ho Chi Minh’s men will die for one American soldier, they will continue to fight tirelessly. Bone-deep loyalty to their people and an invested interest is what enabled the Mexican people to fight for and declare their own sovereignty.
Spain’s interest only went as far as gold, glory and God. The people of Mexico’s interest went much deeper than that. When the Spanish came to the New World not only was the land of the Mexicans invaded, every aspect of their lives were invaded in some way by the Spanish. Their form of dress, their beliefs and their everyday activities were changed. In the wake of Spain’s conquest of the Aztec, nothing of their former lives were left untouched. In reality, Spain didn’t have much to lose if Mexico gained its independence; Mexico’s natives on the other hand had everything to gain.
Mexico’s independence is a prime example to this day of what a group of people can do when their incentive is personal and their fight is empowered through a love of culture and life. The Mexican people gained their independence by pulling themselves up from their bootstraps, fighting with a personal purpose and more than anything a die-hard love for their people. As a teen, I find it especially important to celebrate Mexico’s independence because although Mexico was an underdog, which went up against a world power, it won. This inspires me to stay passionate about my fights and ambitions and empowers me to face struggles without fear.
Jenni Martinez is a Redmond High School junior.