Porterville residents of all backgrounds and cultures will gather again this weekend for the annual Cinco de Mayo observance.

This is the 91st local Cinco de Mayo observance in Porterville and for many, the significance of this date in American history is often lost.

Cinco de Mayo is the marking of the 1862 “Batalla de Puebla,” in which the Mexican army defeated the French. Many say it represents a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism.

However, for all Americans, they need to note that had it not been for the Batalla de Puebla, the South may have won the Civil War. Many feel that the battle against the French in Mexico kept the French from joining with the South in the battle against the North. That enabled the North to eventually win the Civil War.

Just as important, the victory at Puebla stopped the French from moving to the new America and conquering territory here.

Some credit the North’s victory over the South at Gettysburg because the South did not have enough cannons and the reason for that was because the French could not supply them after their defeat in Mexico. 

Besides the historical significance of Cinco de Mayo, today it is a time to celebrate our Hispanic heritage and the many contributions Hispanics have made here for more than a century. 

Porterville is the classic melting pot. There are many multi-generation Hispanic families in town, and many more newcomers. All are making a contribution to the community and its multi-cultural flavor. Today is a time to honor the many Mexican Americans who help make up the foundation of this community. 

And today, the Mexican culture is interwoven in families and businesses throughout Porterville.

If for no other reason, support this weekend’s events — today’s parade at 10 a.m. and Sunday’s Fiesta in Veterans Park 12-7 p.m. —  for the few, hard-working individuals who have put their all into organizing the annual event. 

Most don’t realize how much work goes into such an effort and we want to honor all those who have been organizing Cinco de Mayo for 91 years now.

We honor all of those of Mexican descent. 

They are an integral part of this community and have contributed significantly to the growth and development of this community.

While we call it Cinco de Mayo, we’d rather look at today as a time we pay respect to all families who thankfully found a home in Porterville and because of their contributions, have made it a better place.

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