Cinco de Mayo isn't even an American holiday but it may as well be since it's celebrated in the US on a much grander scale than in its native land. In the great southwest, Cinco de Mayo often gets a better turn out than St Paddy’s Day and can get pretty wild if it happens to fall on a Friday or Saturday.
Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day but actually celebrates the triumph of the Mexican Army, led by Texas-born General Zaragosa over the Frogs at Puebla in 1862.
Big surprise you say? That was a different kettle of Frogs in those days. In fact, the French were formidable opponents who hadn’t lost a battle in fifty years. Zaragosa’s outgunned and outmanned troops routed the Foreign Legion and the French Army like Audie Murphy taking on half the German army with a .50 caliber machine gun. Folk legend has it that Zaragosa’s tequila consumption played a role in this victory (works for me).
Unfortunately, that little whoopin' got the attention of Napoleon who then sent 30,000 troops to secure Mexico and installed Hapsburg Prince Maximilian as head of state.
Once the US Civil War ended the United States allowed early discharge of Union soldiers if they agreed to join with the Mexican Army to fight the French. Things were so much simpler then...(tell ya what boys, them Mexicans is havin' some prollems with the got dang French. We're gonna cut you loose a little early.......).
The good news is that the American Legion of Honor marched alongside the Mexican Army in the victory parade in Mexico City and Maximilian was executed. The bad news is that Col Diaz, who fought so decisively at Puebla, ultimately would become Mexico’s dictator.
And that, my friends, is what all the fuss is about.
Oh yeah, & Happy Happy to Linda R
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