First lady Michelle Obama watches Mexican dancers at Latin American Montessori Bilingual Charter School’s Cinco de Mayo celebration in Washington, D.C.
President Obama hosted the Mexican celebration of Cinco de Mayo, or “Fifth of May,” at the White House.
First lady Michelle Obama also commemorated the Mexican holiday by visiting a Washington, D.C., bilingual charter school, Latin American Montessori, and attending their Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
On Tuesday, Obama met with Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan to speak about the holiday a day early.
“On both sides of our border, we’ll pay tribute to our shared heritage by celebrating with friends and family, with love and laughter,” Obama said. “We’ll remember that America is a richer and more vibrant place thanks to the contributions of Mexican Americans. We’ll remember that the contributions of commerce and culture, in language and literature, in faith, and in food have all made America a better place. And we will honor the service of Mexican Americans who have worn the uniform of the United States.”
Cinco de Mayo marks the Battle of Puebla (a state in Mexico) in 1862 when Mexico’s army fought and won against the French. France attacked Mexico to force payment of a financial debt and attempted to occupy the country. The French army was larger, but Mexico prevailed.
“Nearly 150 years ago, a ragtag band of soldiers and citizens, badly outnumbered and facing impossible odds, held their ground on a muddy hill to defend their nation from what was at the time the most fearsome fighting force in the world,” Obama said. “That decisive victory…ignited a pride in country and culture that Mexican Americans feel to this day.”