Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Area connection brings perspective to day

By the Advocate Editorial Board
May 4, 2013 at 12:04 a.m.

Today is May 5, which for most of the country means spring is in the air, flowers are blooming and it's a beautiful day for a picnic. But for many in South Texas and Mexico, this day has a deeper significance.

Today is Cinco de Mayo, the day Mexican General Ignacio Seguin Zaragoza defeated the French army, which was much larger than his forces, at Puebla in 1862. Now, 151 years later, this day is observed with a day full of festivities celebrating the Mexican culture, but the meaning of the day itself is sometimes forgotten.

Many people falsely believe Cinco de Mayo is Mexico's Independence Day celebration, but this is not the case. That holiday is celebrated Sept. 16 to commemorate Mexico's earning independence from Spain in 1821, about 40 years before the Battle of Puebla. In Mexico, Sept. 16 is considered the more important holiday, but in Texas, Cinco de Mayo is widely recognized.

One of the communities in the Crossroads has a special connection to the history of Cinco de Mayo. General Zaragoza was born in La Bahia, a community near the current city of Goliad in 1829. This connection to the man who led his forces to victory against the French and inspired the downcast people of Mexico is treasured in Goliad. The town hosts a large celebration every year and has been named the official site of the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Texas by the state Legislature. In 1980, the governor of Puebla commissioned and gifted a 10-foot bronze statue of General Zaragoza to Goliad, which stands near the Presidio.

We are glad to see this portion of our area's culture and heritage is being honored year after year. Texas may not be a part of Mexico anymore, but we cannot deny our history and heritage. By acknowledging the important people and events in our past, we teach the following generations the value of knowing not only where we want to go but also where we came from.

We applaud Goliad and other Crossroads communities for taking part in this international festival. Although most of the public celebrations were held Friday and Saturday, residents can still enjoy Cinco de Mayo in their own way at home or with others. However you choose to observe this day, we hope you can take a moment to look back at the true meaning of this holiday.

Happy Cinco de Mayo.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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