Growing up in Southern California I was fortunate to live in a multicultural community. My neighborhood celebrated certain holidays such as the 4th of July, Kwanza, Memorial Day, and Martin Luther King’s birthday. The holiday celebration I remembered the most because of its exciting activities was Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May). The Hispanic/Latino part of our community had Mariachi bands, pinatas, delicious food, and lots of fun. I did not know the what or the why behind the Cinco de Mayo celebration until later in life when I researched to find out what it was about. Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration commemorating Mexico’s victory over the French Empire and the forces of Napoleon III at the Battle of Puebla, which became a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination. Part of its significance is that it showed the victory of a smaller, poorly equipped Mexican force against a larger better equipped French army. Cinco de Mayo is not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day, which falls on September 16. An interesting fact is, in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is not vastly recognized outside of Puebla. In the United States, however, the holiday is celebrated nationwide on a large scale, especially in Southern California.
The Battle of Puebla took place in Mexico in 1862 during the same time America was in the middle of the Civil War. One thing we see in life is that history has a tendency to repeat itself, events from our past can materialize into events in our present. Wars have been around since the beginning of time, and unfortunately, they are still with us today. Currently, the news is dominated by the war in Ukraine. A small democratic sovereign nation on the other side of the world is fighting for its very existence against a world superpower. The Ukrainians continue to put up a good fight and they have stood their ground, but their backs are up against the wall. They have fought bravely and courageously defending their nation and their way of life. I hope once again history will repeat itself and a smaller army will defeat a larger army, like what happened in Puebla, Mexico. The question we must ask ourselves is what is the rest of the world going to do now at this point? Whether we want to admit it or not, we all are affected by what is playing out on the other side of the globe.
Most wars end up having many things in common because the reasons for wars are often similar, economics, religion, political, material advantage, revenge, or security. In my spirit, I believe that people are the driving force behind all wars, and history has shown us that people regardless of the era have not changed much.
How do we learn to agree to disagree on our differences so that we can learn to live with one another harmoniously? We must never give up on believing in a better world, if not for ourselves, at least for future generations. Holidays and celebrations are benchmarks to help us remember certain victories that got us over, but it does not mean the fight is over. I have always been somewhat of an idealist and my husband says that I wear rose-colored glasses on how I see things. I believe that together we can make a difference, but it starts with each of us doing what we can and what we should to make a positive difference in this world.
My prayers are with all the Ukrainian soldiers and civilians that continue to fight the good fight while defending their beloved homeland and to my Latino friends, Happy Cinco de Mayo!
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Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.