Happy Cinco de Mayo!
This is a special day across the United States and Mexico.
Numerous neighborhoods across Dallas are celebrating the famous Battle of Puebla, Mexico on May 5, 1862, the day on which Mexican General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín, outnumbered 2 to 1, routed the French army.
So, why Cinco de Mayo?
Under Emperor Napoleon III, the French invaded Mexico with designs of staying in order to challenge the United States, at the time involved in its own Civil War.
Napoleon's Army had not been defeated in 50 years, and it invaded Mexico with the finest modern equipment and with a newly reconstituted Foreign Legion. The French Army left the port of Vera Cruz to attack Mexico City about 100 miles to the west. The French believed that if the Mexican Capitol fell, the nation would be theirs.
Under the innovative and daring leadership of Zaragoza, the Mexican army more than prevailed. The outcome of the battle on United States history is often overlooked. The victory prevented the French from supplying the Confederate rebels in the U. S. for another year.
As the American Civil War wound down, following the Union victory at Gettysburg, U. S. General Phillip Sheridan traveled to the Mexican border to bring materials needed to expel the French completely. At this time American soldiers were discharged with their uniforms and rifles if they promised to join the Mexican Army to fight the French. The American Legion of Honor marched in the Victory Parade in Mexico, City.
Almost 100 years later, thousands of Mexicans crossed the border after Pearl Harbor to join the U.S. Armed Forces. As recently as the Persian Gulf War, Mexicans flooded American consulates with phone calls, trying to join up and fight another war for America.
Cinco de Mayo is a community party! It is a day to celebrate liberty and freedom. It is a celebration bringing together the United States and Mexico. It is a day for remembering our common heritage and our connection as people. It is a day and an event that I remember almost every morning as I drive by Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary School in my neighborhood!
It seems to me that it's a party we all need to join, now as never before.
What do you think?