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Why Do We Celebrate Independence Day

Why Do We Celebrate Independence Day

June is usually the month when we’ll observe more Philippine flags hung in establishments, institutions and even in the streets. We would see posts on social media, listing films and documentaries about Philippine history. The same goes for history books usually being at the front of stores. That’s because every year on the 12th of June, Filipinos celebrate Independence Day. It’s a significant day where we commemorate what our country and its people fought for and what it took to get us where we are now.

The Long Road to Independence

If you look at the books and recall the past lessons in school, a large part of our history tells the story of our country’s colonization. It’s difficult not to acknowledge the 333 years of occupancy by the Spaniards when the number is staggering. It’s hard to ignore it when up until now, we still see their influences existing in the present time. We can observe it in our way of living, the food we eat, the buildings we pass by, and even the language we speak. 

After the Spaniards were defeated, it was Emilio Aguinaldo who proclaimed on June 12, 1898 that the Philippines was an independent country. Unfortunately, when Filipinos thought our country had finally won, we found out that we were sold to the Americans. For 48 years, we were once again colonized. Within that time frame, Filipinos had also experienced gruesome horrors from the Japanese occupation. On July 4, 1946, America declared our country’s independence, something that we, Filipinos, are the ones who are supposed to proclaim. 

Today, we read about our ancestors and their stories in journals and studies. We visit museums and historical spots and see the depictions of our bloody past. We listen to the survivors, to their children and grandchildren, and think of how precious our freedom is. 

The Fight For Freedom Is Still On

The country recognizes June 12 as our Independence Day and not what the Americans had declared. After all, to do so is to erase the sense of independence. Philippines is now on its 124th year. Over a century has passed that one would think Filipinos now simply just celebrate the day. The reality is that we are still fighting for it.

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One would also think, “When have Filipinos never not fought for something?”

We look back on our history and fear for it to be reflected on our present. Maybe that is one of the reasons why we continue to fight for freedom even when the dates say we already have it. We read and watch the news, we go out into the streets, we call out, and we use the very freedom that our ancestors gave us. 

The country celebrates every year to remember the past. We celebrate so that we may learn from it and never forget. Above all, we do so because we, as Filipinos, are still fighting for our freedom. 

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