The Deep Secret, of the Puerto Rican Day Parade

Book - 12-10

 

The Puerto Rican Day Parade has a dark secret.

It has nothing to do with celebrities, rich corporations, or slick politicians.

It is a deep mystery, from the heart and history of Puerto Rico, which explains the whole parade…

Seventy years ago, Boricuas were given the worst jobs and housing in New York City. They were also beaten by their neighbors and the NYPD.

And yet in 1958, some brave Boricuas dared to hold a humble parade where they could march with pride, arm-in-arm, through the heart of Manhattan.

Mothers clapped their hands…to the bombas and plenas of their childhood.

Fathers schooled their children…explaining the floats dedicated to Puerto Rican towns known for sugar cane, tobacco, coffee, pineapples and plantains. 

The Puerto Rican pride spread rapidly.

By 1966, the parade was already a “must do” event for politicians and celebrities.

Today, the parade is a celebrity spectacle with 2 million spectators, 100,000 marchers, and a stampede of corporate sponsors.

Rita Moreno, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Hillary Clinton and Mayor De Blasio have all “starred” in it.

But even as “The Parade” has become one of the nation’s largest outdoor celebrations, there is a secret that few people suspect…

A secret that reaches into the heart of every Puerto Rican, without their even knowing it.

It is the secret of the Puerto Rican flag.

AN INCREDIBLE DISPLAY

Have you ever noticed the wild, uncontrollable, impassioned display of flags at every Puerto Rican Day Parade?  

No matter where you look…it is a tidal wave of flags!

Mile after mile, you see this:

And this:  

And this:

And even this:

This is no coincidence.

There is a deep reason for this emotional attachment.

There is a reason why Que Bonita Bandera and Preciosa bring tears to our eyes…and sometimes we don’t even know why.

It is because this flag represents an ideal…the ideal of lost youth and forgotten illusions…just like last night’s dream, or tomorrow’s TV advertisement.

But there is one more reason, why this flag is the emotional heart of the parade.

It is the secret which explains everything.

We adore our flag because for many years, any Puerto Rican who owned one, would go to jail for ten years.

THEY TRIED TO CRUSH DON PEDRO 

For many years, the United States wanted only one flag in Puerto Rico.

Here is that flag, in the inauguration of the first US Governor of Puerto Rico, in April 1900:

Pedro Albizu Campos refused to salute this flag.

In order to crush Don Pedro and the Nationalist movement, a law was passed in 1948, right after Don Pedro got out of jail.

It was called Public Law 53, and also known as La Ley de la Mordaza…the Gag Law.

Law 53 made it a felony to sing a song, whistle a tune, or utter one word against the US government, or in favor of Puerto Rican independence.

This included singing La Borinqueña, or owning a Puerto Rican flag.

Own a flag…ten years in jail.

Every day, the FBI and Insular Police raided people’s homes, searched for flags, and hauled Puerto Ricans off to jail. 

They did it all over the island.

In November 1950, they arrested 3,000 Puerto Ricans within one week! Some of them were only eight years old.

In many cases the flag – all by itself – was the sole piece of evidence.

Own a flag…ten years in jail.

  

The Gag Law violated the US constitution. But it took nine years to repeal it, in 1957. 

The very next year, in 1958, the first Puerto Rican Day Parade was held in New York City.

THE PARADE EXPLODES

The Puerto Rican flags and celebration were everywhere…the passion was astonishing…New York had never seen anything like it!

The Puerto Rican Day parade exploded into New York City, with the emotion and power of an entire people…that had finally found a voice…for one day…on Fifth Avenue. 

The politicians couldn’t explain it, but they did know one thing…that they better get in front of this parade, and yell “¡Que viva Puerto Rico!”

That much they did understand.

THE DEEP SECRET OF OUR PARADE

The deep secret of the Puerto Rican Day Parade is this: 

The parade was born in the hearts of an entire nation…where everyone was declared a criminal…         if they dared to show their flag.

And now for one beautiful day, through the heart of New York City, we show that flag to the whole world.

Let them throw a Financial Control Board at us.

Let the US Supreme Court call us a “territorial possession.”

We all know what is in our hearts, and in our memory…

We will never give up our island…

And that is why we will win.

Que bonita bandera 

Que bonita bandera 

Que bonita bandera es la bandera Puertorriqueña

¡ QUE VIVA PUERTO RICO !

 

Book - 12-10

14 Comments on “The Deep Secret, of the Puerto Rican Day Parade

  1. Thank you my brother for all you do. May God richly bless you and your loved ones. Que viva Puerto Rico para siempre en nuestros corazones. Mi hermanito cubanito, that’s our secret. Love you.

    Respectfully yours,

    Edwin Padilla

    Cell# – 4076247005

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  2. I live in Orlando, and with all the Puerto Rinquenos moving in we’ve now celebrated our 2nd Puerto Rican Day Parade. How amazing to relive this amazing experience you so eloquently describe but now even closer to La Isla, Las Floridas.

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  3. Es una pena y ademas una muestra de hipocrecia en que haiga tanta gente, oficiales elegido especialmente, quien rechazaron a Oscar Lopez Rivera despues de tantos anos de encarcerimiento por, no solo defender a Puerto Rico pero tambien a su pueblo, por levantarnos la consencia de que los EE. UU. piensan y como tratan a gente que no sean ellos mismo.
    It’s a shame and a show of hypocrisy for there to have been so many people, especially elected officials, who turned their backs on Oscar Lopez Rivera after spending so many years of incarceration for lifting our conscientiousness to what the U.S. thinks and treats people other than themselves.

    Like

  4. Well said. It’s a shame despite the one day of the year that makes everyone Puerto Rican and allows people to get together … however the rest of the time we seem to be at odds with each other it’s too bad we cannot rally around the one thing that draws us all together

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  5. For those who ask themselves that why are there so few independentistas in PR this is the answer. The oppression and encarcelation of thr people who lovef their country. USA oppressed and still oppresses those puertorricans who are independentistas , but the independentintas in USA were the ones that created the great nation USA.

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  6. AMIGO NELSON DENIS SALUDO BORICUA.TE FELICITO POR ESA RESENA HISTORICA.GRACIAS POR TU APORTACION DE MUCHOS ANOS POR MANTENER VIVA NUESTRA HONROSA HISTORIA TAN OCULTADA Y NEGADA SIEMPRE. TUVE LA DICHA DE CONOCERTE Y COMPARTIR CONTIGO CUANDO VIAJASTE A PUERTORICO A PRESENTAR TU VALIOSO LIBRO GUERRA CONTRA LOS PUERTORRIQUENOS ME HA SERVIDO DE REPASO A LA VEZ QUE DE APRENDISAJE ES UN TESORO APROVECHO PARA HACER UN RECORDATORIO HISTORICO FUE EN NUEVA YORK UN 11 DE JUNIO DE 1892 QUE ANTONIO VELEZ ALVARADO INDEPENDENTISTA EXILIADO COMO TANTOS EN NUEVA YORK QUE CREO LA BANDERA PUERTORRIQUENA NOS CUENTA QUE ESTANDO EN SU HABITACION FIJO SU MIRADA EN LA BANDERA CUBANA Y AL CAMBIAR LA VISTA EN SU MENTE SE INVIRTIERON LOS COLORES AZUL EN ROJO EN LAS FRANJAS Y ROJO EN AZUL CIELO EN EL TRIANGULO PRECISAMENTE ESTE LUNES 11 DE JUNIO CELEBRAMOS EN MANATI (VELEZ ALVARADO.ERA MANATIENO) EL 120 ANIVERSARIO DE ESTE HECHO HISTORICO SERIA UN HONOR QUE EN ALGUNA OCASION UN 11 DE JUNIO PODER CONTAR CON TU PRESENCIATRES ANOS MS TARDE EL 22 DE DICIEMBRE DE 1895 EN NUEVA YORK UN GRUPO DE 59 PUERTORRIQUENOS INDEPENDENTISTAS EXILIADOS REUNIDOS EN ASAMBLEA ADOPTAN POR UNANIMIDAD LA BANDERA IDEADA POR VELEZ ALVARADO Y LA CONVIERTEN EN EL PABELLON NACIONAL DE LA FUTURA REPUBLICA DE PUERTO RICO EL HONOR DE PRESENTAR LA BANDERA A LA ASAMBLEA DE PATRIOTAS LE CORRESPONDIO AL REVOLUCIONARIO SOBREVIVIENTE DEL GRITO DE LARES JUAN DE MATTA TERREFORTE DESDE ENTONCES NUESTRA BANDERA HA TENIDO GRAN SIGNIFICACION HISTORICA NOS IDENTIFICA COMO PUEBLO COMO NACION CON NUESTRA HISTORIA Y CULTURA PROPIA PERO A LA VEZ TIENE OTRA SIGNIFICACION QUE VA LIGADA A SU IDENTIDAD ESA HERMOSA BANDERA HA SIDO DESDE SU ORIGEN CREADA Y ADOPTADA POR INDEPENDENTISTAS Y SEGUIRA SIENDO SIMBOLO DE LUCHA POR LA INDEPENDENCIA DE NUESTRA PATRIA COMO TU BIEN AFIRMAS SU DEFENSA HA COSTADO PERSECUCION ,CARCEL Y MUERTES A MILES DE PATRIOTAS PUETORRIQUENOS ESA ES LA VERDAD HISTORICA QUE DEBEMOS DIVULGAR PARA QUE NUESTRO PUEBO SE LIBERE DE MIEDOS Y COMPLEJOS COLONIALES.TERMINO CON UN PENSAMIENTO DE NUESTRO QUERIDO MAESTRO EUGENIO M.DE HOSTOS.”MATAREIS EL DIOS DELMIEDO Y SOLO ENTONCES SEREIS LIBRES MIENTRAS TANTO ACA EN NUESTRA TIERR SEGUIMOS LUCHANDO Y COMBATIENDO LA JUNTA OPERSORA IMPERIALISTA LADRONA Y CORRUPTA.
    ABRAZO PATRIOTICO A MI AMIGO NELSON DENIS
    VIVA PUERTO RICO LIBRE.

    JOAQUIN G.CHEVERE RIVERA
    MAESTRO DE HISTORIA DE PUERTORICO
    9 DE JUNIO DE 2018

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  7. Hi, Nelson!! That above comment was meant to be in the reblog!! LOL … hi, from Florida!!
    Always remember you and miss your frequent postsing!! Here’s wishing you the best today and alway!!
    Que bonita bandera!!! Siempre …

    Like

  8. Back in 1948, it was unlawful to have a Puerto Rican flag in your possession!! Did you know that?
    “It was called Public Law 53, and also known as La Ley de la Mordaza … the Gag Law. Law 53 made it a felony to sing a song, whistle a tune, or utter one word against the US government, or in favor of Puerto Rican independence. This included singing La Borinqueña, or owning a Puerto Rican flag. Own a flag … ten years in jail. We all know what is in our hearts, and in our memory … We will never give up our island!! … And that is why we will win.’
    NEVER, EVER AGAIN!!

    Like

  9. And I lived through every day of it with
    aunt Luz between Barrio Obrero and Manhattan from 1962 to today. Every page of War Against all Puerto Ricans is still in my memory.

    FHC

    Like

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