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May: Two neighboring countries in remembrance

The month of May gives the nation a time to focus and express appreciation and recognition of our armed services. It allows Americans to educate each generation on the impact of our military - to recall and learn about our American history.

flag Cinco de Mayo celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Mexico had defaulted on its foreign debt to several European countries, including France. Napoleon III saw Mexico’s weakness as an opportunity to establish a monarchy in North America and attacked the Mexican army in the small city of Puebla on May 5.

Although Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican heritage and culture, most people don’t realize that it’s a mostly American holiday particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. It’s scarcely celebrated south of the border; only in the city of Puebla, where the battle took place.

Memorial Day, May 27

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Memorial Day formerly known as Decoration Day, was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. General John A. Logan established Decoration Day in remembrance of soldiers who died in defense of their country. Many Americans began hosting tributes to the war’s fallen soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers and flags, reciting prayers and singing hymns. It’s believed the date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom across the country.

Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. Memorial Day didn’t become an official federal holiday until 1971. The first observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The month of May is a symbol of unity encouraging U.S. citizens to observe and honor the current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom.

Melissa Jones is an experienced mass market and e-commerce buyer with over 15 years in the floriculture industry.