Fireworks burst in the sky over the Metropolitan Cathedral during the Mexican Independence Day. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Mexican-Americans celebrate Mexican Independence Day, El Grito!

Every year on the night of September 15, Mexicans living in the United States gather to celebrate their country’s Independence Day, also known as El Grito de Dolores.

And although they might not be present at the big celebration in Mexico City, various networks in the U.S. broadcast live as the Mexican president re-enacted the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 1810, when revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo called fellow Mexicans to arms.

Millions watch as the Mexican president steps out to the balcony of the national palace and rings the original bell Hidalgo sounded. Then he repeats his words: “My fellow Mexicans, Long Live Mexico!”

In Mexico, up to half a million people gather in el Zócalo, a public plaza, to celebrate, sing the national anthem and remember the day that marks the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence from Spain.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a congratulatory message to all Mexican-Americans, saying that Mexico is a valued neighbor and partner and that the “two nations have a deep and strong cultural bond.”

“Mexican-Americans have made extensive contributions to the United States and are an important part of our nation’s diverse social and economic fabric,” Senator Reid said.

Maria Lara, who was born in Mexico but has spent the last 13 years in Texas, said she is proud of being Mexican and appreciates El Grito no matter what happens in Mexico.

“There are a lot of good people in Mexico that have fought for good values, good ideas,” Lara said.

In her opinion, the celebration should be of the people and it should follow the tradition of “removing the oppression of the poor.”

“The ones who should do the independence shout again should be the people, the oppressed, the poor,” Lara said.

Various states celebrated with Mexican Independence Day parades and numerous cities organized individual celebrations. In Las Vegas, the McCarran International Airport planned to welcome visitors with mariachi after seeing a surge in passengers and flights from Mexico, Senator Reid said.

He also used Mexican Independence Day to address  some of the important areas for the Mexican community, among them the push for immigration reform.

“I want to take advantage of this occasion to reaffirm my commitment to working with my Senate colleagues in the areas of importance to this great community such as education, immigration reform, health care and job creation,” he said.

Here are some pictures of Mexican Independence Day celebrations around the U.S., including tweets from elected officials, including New York City’s first Mexican-American elected official, councilman-elect Carlos Menchaca: 

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