Thursday, May 5, 2022

Cinco de Mayo 2022


Happy Cinco de Mayo 2022!

Let the festivities begin as my favorite foreign holiday arrives. 

Cinco de Mayo is actually a holiday in Mexico--but it is more widely celebrated here in the U.S. 

Many people wonder why I enjoy the holiday. Well, it is one of those holidays, complete with a celebration, which although considered minor by many has incredible significance to the American experience. 

Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated during September, and it also is NOT a Mexican Federal Holiday. The Battle of Puebla where out-manned and out-gunned Mexican forces defeated a larger French force (sounds a bit like Ukraine and Russia), was also not a turning point in the War, which the French ultimately won. The Battle of Puebla, however, may have helped prevent the Confederacy from winning the American Civil War. 

An excerpt from a History.Com article, titled How Cinco de Mayo Helped Prevent a Confederate Victory in the Civil War, provides the historical perspective. 

Some contend that the year-long delay of the French invasion gave Abraham Lincoln’s generals just enough time to win decisive Union victories before Napoleon could provide upgraded artillery and munitions to the Confederacy. 

“By the time the French occupy Mexico City in June of 1863, the battle of Vicksburg was already underway," says Eric Rojo, a retired U.S. Army Colonel and commander-in-chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, an organization composed of descendants of Union officers in the Civil War. Rojo points out that the Battle of Gettysburg was about to begin and that Union victories were "signaling the beginning of the end" for the Confederacy. “Even if French were able to set their supply lines by mid-1863, it would have made very little difference in the outcome of the Civil War.”

So I celebrate today not only for the fun and revelry, but for the true historical significance of the Battle of Puebla and in memory to the brave Mexicans who played a role in preserving the Union and these United States.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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