MEXICO CITY - Warning: If a coworker or stranger suddenly jumps up and starts singing Wednesday, don’t be alarmed. They aren’t crazy.
They are just Mexicans participating in a worldwide call to song to celebrate 150 years of their national anthem.
An ad campaign is calling on all Mexicans — wherever they are — to stop what they are doing at noon Wednesday, the eve of Mexico’s Independence Day, and sing the rousing ode to war and country.
While the campaign is primarily aimed at celebrating the anthem, it has another motive: Uniting a country increasingly divided by everything from politics to crime.
‘‘There is a crisis of dishonesty, fragmentation, crime,’’ said Erwin Salas Juarez, a spokesman for the nonprofit council organizing the campaign. ‘‘We have to unite society.’’
Organizers hope that, on Wednesday, offices will grind to a halt in the capital, Mexicans visiting the Eiffel Tower will stop taking photos, and farmers will look up from their fields to join in the anthem.
"I don’t think too many people" will sing, said Mesa resident Arturo Escamilla. However, he’ll be among the few doing it — for no other reason than he’s originally from Mexico, and it will be fun, he said.
"It’s not a big deal," he said of the 150th anniversary of the anthem. "It’s not like Independence Day, on the 16th."
Elias Bermudez of Phoenix said he will be singing the anthem at the Independence Day celebration at Patriots Square Park on Wednesday evening in Phoenix.
Bermudez, who is the director of a immigrant legal resource center called Centro Ayuda, said he believes people who sing the anthem in the United States should keep in mind where they are.
"We need to realize we owe our allegiance to this country, even though we remember our own," Bermudez said.
Many other Mexicans liked the idea. Mexico is a strongly patriotic country that celebrates everything from its 1917 Constitution (Feb. 5) to its 1910 revolution (Nov. 20). Sept. 16, which marks Mexico’s 1810 independence from Spain, is perhaps the most patriotic of the nation’s holidays.
The lyrics were written by a Mexican native, Francisco Gonzalez Bocanegra. Mexican children are required to sing the song every Monday morning in school.
Mexicans, at the cry of battle prepare your swords and bridle; and let the earth tremble at its center at the roar of the cannon.
Oh fatherland! Your forehead shall be girded with olive garlands, by the divine archangel of peace For in heaven your eternal destiny has been written by the hand of God.
But should a foreign enemy dale to profane your land with his sole, Think, beloved fatherland, that heaven gave you a soldier in each son.
War, war without truce against who would attempt to blemish the honor of the fatherland! War, war! The patriotic banners drench in waves of blood.
War, war! On the mount, in the valley The terrifying thunder of the cannon And the echoes nobly resound to the cries of: Union! Liberty!
Fatherland, before your children Become unarmed Beneath the yoke their necks in sway, And your countryside be watered with blood, On blood their feet trample. And may your temples, palaces and towers crumble in horrid crash, and ruins remain saying: The fatherland was made of one thousand heroes.
Fatherland, fatherland, your children swear to exhale their breath in your cause, If the bugle in its belligerent tone should call upon them to struggle with bravery. For you the olive garlands! For them a memory of glory! For you a laurel of victory! For them a tomb of honor!
- Tribune writer Ray Stern contributed to this report.