New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 5, 1996, New Braunfels, Texas
Herald-Zeitung O Sunday, May 5,1996 O 3 A
Mexicans earned their place in history at battle
Many wonder why Mexican-Americans continue to celebrate Cinco deMayo. It is not an American holiday. Why is the fiesta so important to Mexican-Americas north of the border? Why is it celebrated throughout the United States? One must understand the reasons to truly appreciate Cinco de Mayo. To Mexican-Americans die holiday is more than a celebration of Mexico’s liberty against oppression. It is a celebration of the human spirit.
La Batalla, the battle of Cinco de Mayo was a defiance. It was a rebellion against an invader. It was a battle sprinkled with American ideologies. The motivation behind the battle was liberty, freedom against oppression, human rights and a fight for the right to govern their own country. Sounds familiar doesn?t it?
The battle actually started 50 years prior to May 5, 1862. During this time, Mexico snuggled to change its status from colony to country. There was a constant seesaw between liberals and conservatives. The ideological heirs of Hidalgo and Morelos on one side, the landowners, clergy and aristocracy on the other. The most prominent of the liberal figures to emerge, and one of the most revered men in Mexican history, was Benito Juarez (the Abe Lincoln of Mexico). Juarez took over the administration of a country that was on the verge of ruin and bankruptcy. The 1810 Revolution and subsequent infighting had left the Mexicans dependent on European support. Of the three, only France saw a chance at advancing financially and politically in the Americas. Napoleon III then sent Prince Maximiliano to Mexico to take over the country.
As president of Mexico, Juarez gave heart to the people. He dedicated himself to the defense of the country, calling on all Mexicans to forget any difference of opinion and unite in a common defense.
As soon as Juarez heard the French were marching to take Mexico city, he summoned Texas-born Ignacio Zaragoza (bom in Seguin) to drive the French army back to the coast.
Gen. Zaragoza prepared for a suicide mission.
His army consisted of Mexican men, women and children who were ill-equipped and lacked the military training to defeat one of the greatest armies of the world at that time. The Mexican soldiers and solderas (women soldiers) were armed with sticks, stones, pitch forks, machetes and a few boxes of U.S. donated rifles used in the American revolution. Nevertheless, Zaragoza marched the Mexican force into the hills of Guadalupe and Loreto in Puebla, a few miles away from Mexico City. The Mexicans, though poorly equipped had the advantage of a more strategic position. They hid in the hills where the view was good.
At noon on May 5, the battle began. Within a few hours, 500 French soldiers were wounded or killed. Twice fire French retreated and the third time surrendered. The Mexicans had won. Cinco de Mayo became a date drat signaled the end of foreign intervention in the Americas. The victory was a turning point for stable Mexican Independence. The battle captured the enthusiasm of the entire nation. No Mexican whatever his party or beliefs was downcast by the tremendous victory against such odds. The remotest Indian village felt die electrifying current of this triumph which helped
unite Mexico in a patriotism seldom seen before. This allegiance among the Mexican people spread like lightening awakening a sleeping conscience, inspiring the people to make the supreme effort to finally become a nation in the eyes of God and the world. Mexico had earned its place in history.
For Mexican-Americas, so many miles away, so many years awaly, so many generations past, we celebrate it as an echo of who we are. The Mexican-American is an extension of this history and, as such, a present, living, expression of the spirit of the combatants of the hills of Guadalupe y Loreto, where the battle began. We are caught between two poles that try to make of us what we are not. Neither “pocho” (Mexican who forgot his roots) or “wetback,” we are Americans by politics and Hispanic by culture and our battle is to maintain and enrich ourselves and those around us. There is heroism in the history of the battle and there is a perseverance in the way we celebrate it north of die border. This heroism is what the Mexican-American has inherited. It is a heroism we display as U.S. soldiers, as politicians, educators, professionals, community activists and volunteers. Our battle is our dance, and our folk tales, and our music, and our politics, and our drama, and our unique and beautiful blend of Spanish and English. Our courage is in our families, in our past and in our hope. And our yearning is for a better ma’ana. Cinco de Mayo is a day that has come to signify the principles of our continent. Why do we celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Because on this day, people from both sides of the border raise their glasses in a toast—a toast to freedom and the inconquerablepre-serverance of the human spirit.
(Cristina Aguilar-Friar is GHCC chair of cultural awareness and international trade.)
Drinking Water Week
On hand to receive a County Commissioners' Court proclamation naming May 5-11 as “Drinking Water Week are (from left) County Judge Carter Casteel, and All Wright Water of Texas* Tommy Webb (sales associate), Don Knox (V.P. Corporate Development) and Pat Lynch (territorial manager).
Dought effects evident
HOUSTON (AP) — In a normal year, cattle ranchers would be starting to cut hay, as wheat harvesting crews gather at die South Texas starting point of their annual odyssey from Texas to the Dakotas.
But this year, because of the drought, there is no wheat in South-Central Texas and the grass is only about an
Normally the wheat harvest would begin soon. This year, insurance adjusters are now estimating the losses — predicting yields of around I bushel per acre near Kames City, in south-central Texas, where growers normally harvest 55 bushels per acre.
Christian Coalition Loaders Say They Have Much In Common with Catholics
AUSTIN (AP) — Christian Coalition leaders say Catholics and fundamentalists go together like a horse and carriage.
If there is to be a marriage between
Catholics and fundamentalists, though, it’s bound to be a rocky one. That is the message Catholic leaders heard at a two-day seminar here that ended Friday.
The seminar drew some 250 Texas clergy and lay leaders to discuss the inroads of fundamentalism among Catholics.
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