September 11th is much different in Barcelona than in the U.S. 300 years ago, this past Thursday, the country of Catalonia lost its independence to Spain. Every year, throughout the region of Catalonia they celebrate their lost country in hopes of independence. This year brought the biggest celebration, with around 2 million gathering in the streets of Barcelona, to promote a notion to vote for independence, like the issue going on in Scotland. It was even recognized as a world record. But I could not be there. The people and patriotism of Catalonia, when I went in 2013, were so amazing to witness. I have a lot of respect for their goals and support their mission toward independence:
This year my father says I will be able to vote. He tells me this as he wraps me in a flag and holds me tight through the crowds. There is too much red and yellow around to move. On Gran Via we are stuck by Universitat. The rest of the city meets with us to celebrate our independent dream. Over two million, my father says, are here with us. The flags of Catalonia fly up toward the trees and sway hard in the wind, reaching for the apartment balconies. There is no traffic today. The crowds tunnel throughout this street and intersect at Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, continuing up Diagonal. It is a giant red and yellow stripped V across the city. It’s calling for our vote. We call it Via Catalana. We stand and protest for our country waiting to gain our independence. It’s been 300 years. This year, if the plan passes, my first vote could be for our independence. We want that vote. We want our country back, my father tells me each night. All in the crowd start to sing and chant out the national anthem, pushing away the protestors in support of a greater Spain. We push through the crowds and see bakery vendors with red and yellow cakes. My father buys me one and tells me to eat it proudly. My grandmother trudges along slowly behind us against a walker. She prays to herself, waiting to see a separate Catalan nation herself. She is old and has to stop, turning her walker into a chair. I wait with her in the shade of a flag above us. I offer her some cake. She takes a bite and says how sweet it does taste.