July 4th has become a very important day for me for many years now because I celebrate this day as a Filipino-American. I'm sure most Filipino-Americans do the same way, and this article will explain why.
July 4th is a Special Day
For many years now, July 4th has been a very important day for me because this is the day I commemorate two events that happened in the history of the Philippines and the United States.
This day is celebrated with festivities by the Filipinos in the observance of Filipino-American Friendship Day, and by the Americans in the observance of US Independence Day. These two significant events will always identify me as a Filipino-American, being a natural born Filipino, as well as being a naturalized American citizen.
What Filipino-American Friendship Day Is All About
Decades before Philippines gained freedom from the United States, the former gained independence from Spain. It was on June 12, 1898 when the Spanish government declared independence and surrendered the Philippines to the US rule. Since that time, Philippines was under the US rule until July 4, 1946, when then President Harry S. Truman proclaimed the withdrawal of power and control of sovereignty over the Philippines. That day, Philippines was recognized and proclaimed by US government as an independent country.
Since then, July 4th was observed as the Philippine Independence Day until August 4, 1964, when then Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal signed into law Republic Act No. 4166 designating June 12th as the Philippine Independence Day, and renaming July 4th as Filipino-American Friendship Day.
The United States Independence Day
July 4th is Independence Day in the United States. More often known as 4th of July, it is the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776. This declaration announced that the 13 American colonies, which were then at war with Great Britain, were regarded as independent states and were no longer under the British Empire. These 13 colonies were Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. They formed a new nation, the United States of America.
It was on July 2nd when the congress voted to approve the 13 colonies' separation from Britain. Two days later on July 4th, after some minor revision, the declaration was formally adopted. The declaration contained the very famous line "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The two countries celebrate important historical events on the same day. The 4th of July, marking the Filipino-American Friendship Day and US Independence Day, are both observed as public holidays, with fireworks, carnivals, picnics, parties, and other forms of gatherings. Government offices are closed.
The two events are celebrated in very similar ways. Most houses and buildings have patriotic displays in the forms of flags, balloons, streamers, and banners. There are parades and marching bands usually in the morning, then displays of fireworks occur at night in some parks and fairgrounds. National anthems and patriotic songs are played. Parties are usually associated with desserts and balloons that are decorated with flag motifs. Almost everything comes in red, white, and blue, as both countries have those colors in their respective flags.
I've been in the US for 16 years, and each time US Independence Day is celebrated, I can't help but associate it with the Filipino-American Friendship Day. Both are equally important to me as I consider these two countries as my homes.
Happy 4th of July to all who celebrate it! Have a safe one.
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