September 15, 2013

Celebrating Mexican Independence Day with the Border Patrol

Border patrol

Only in the Rio Grande Valley can one enjoy a Mariachi concert, Mexican Folkloric dance recital, the official “Grito” ceremony and a Conjunto Norteño music concert by a band composed of Border Patrol officials.

That was the lineup during Harlingen’s Mexican Independence celebration event at the Municipal Auditorium. The event was well attended, and the La Joya School District Mariachi and dancers entertained the crowd.  Then it was time for the official “Grito’ celebration where the Mexican Consul waves the Mexican flag and cries “Viva Mexico” and “Viva Hidalgo” and mentions all the heroes of the Mexican Independence as spectators respond hollering “Viva Mexico.” This is done in memory of Father Hidalgo’s cry for independence on the eve of September 16th, 1810. It is a moving moment for Mexicans and those of Mexican descent.

Cadets from the local Marine Mililtary Academy opened the ceremony with the presentation of colors. The  Star Spangled Banner was sung and the party began. The La Joya Mariachi serenaded the crowd, and teenage dancers danced to the tune of traditional Guapangos and mariachi tunes such as el Jarabe Tapatio.

A beautiful 9 year old local girl named Aaron Blount of Harlingen, stunned the audience with her powerful voice – even more noticeable if compared to her size – as she sang the popular Mariachi song”Los Laureles.” Aaron has a voice that can handle songs like Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, which she sang during Sombrero Fest in Brownsville, Texas, this past month of February.

But it was not until the Los Federales (the Federals) band composed of  half a dozen Border Patrol officials were introduced, that the crowd went wild. It was a mixed reaction, but the band’s leader, officer Maldonado, was very charismatic and eased the crowd with his words.   He said “We are for real,” pointing to his gun. He also thanked the city officials for the invitation, and told the crowd they were there to show their human side. “We do our jobs, but we are human like all of you, and that’s why we’re here to show our appreciation.  If you think about it, we actually protect both countries,” said Officer Maldonado in perfect Spanish. It was quite a site, ironically comical, but the gesture was welcomed, and the crowd even stood up to dance. Their music was basically from northern Mexico and southern Texas; they sang what we know as Conjunto Norteño music. Juana La Cubana, Me Cai de la Nube en que Andaba and other popular melodies.

Officer Maldonado introduced the band members and showed sincere respect for the event that had just taken place. Their accordion music certainly pleased the crowd. Some people left, but most everybody stayed. At one point, Officer Maldonado asked for people to say hello to them when out and about to what someone from the crowd  yelled from the back: “Will you ask for our papers?” to the enjoyment of all.

Another reason to love the Rio Grande Valley – we are just something else.

Photo of Aaron Blount from the Harlingen CISD YouTube video library taken during her performance at the nurse’s appreciation banquet.

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About the Author

Nydia O Tapia - Gonzales
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts,nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most important, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .


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