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President Bush took note of the Mexican independence holiday Friday with a celebration in the White House attended by Mexican-American leaders from around the country.

In the East room ceremony, Bush watched a group of children from Toledo, dressed in traditional Spanish colonial garb, dance to mariachi music.He told the gathering that Americans identify with the Mexican independence struggle commemorated on this day.

In a message honoring the day, he said, "Our country is proud of the long-standing friendship that has existed between the Untied States and Mexico and prouder still of the wonderful contributions Mexican Americans have made to our nation."

The president told the White House gathering that Americans share the ideals of the Mexican people, "ideals that know no boundary."

And he said, "We deeply respect your commitment to family, honor and tradition."