SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The city of Springfield raised a flag Thursday in celebration of Ecuadorian Independence Day.

Members of the Ecuadorian community joined Mayor Sarno and City Councilor Lavar Click- Bruce on the steps of City Hall, to acknowledge the contributions the people of Ecuador have made to the city, the state, and country.

The Mayor proclaimed Thursday as Ecuadorian Independence Day, a distinction with deeper importance after a presidential candidate from Ecuador was assassinated at a campaign event on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, as many countries, political situations happen and it’s hitting us very hard because last night one of their candidates for the president was murdered and it affects us, all of us, because he had the chance to change our country,” said Cesar Gonzalez of Springfield.

Gonzalez has been in America for almost 35 years and grateful to be a part of the Springfield community. He helped the mayor and others raise the flag outside City Hall.