Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks at today’s Congressional Cinco de Mayo Reception. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“The world loves the underdog. Since David defeated Goliath, people of every heritage have found inspiration in the stories of unlikely victors.
“Cinco de Mayo is one of the most inspiring such stories – the tale of a fearless force that was easily outnumbered, but could not be out-matched. At the Battle of Puebla 149 years ago today, there were two French fighters for every Mexican determined to defend his land – but the determination of Zaragoza’s army could not be conquered.
“These many years later, we celebrate more than just the small size of the winning army. Cinco de Mayo is about what those rugged and ragged warriors fought for: freedom, liberty, dignity.
“Zaragoza’s troops resisted invasion because they held fast to a simple principle: they believed in the universal right to control their own destiny.
“We know this cause well. It is the same principle for which America’s first patriots fought our own European foe a century earlier. It is born of the same ideals – the same ingredients of independence – that still pull passionate citizens into their cities’ streets.
“That sacred struggle for sovereignty – be it political sovereignty or personal sovereignty – is what we fight for every day in the halls of Congress.
“We fight for the right of a patient not to be abused by an insurance company. The right of a homeowner not to be taken advantage of by a con artist selling a scam mortgage. The right of a worker who responsibly saves his money not to be swindled by an unscrupulous big bank – not to fall victim to fraudsters who manipulate the markets. The right of a driver at the gas pump not to be ripped off by a big oil company making money hand over fist. And we fight for the right of every American to be free from fear and terror.
“Today we honor those who win the wars nobody thinks they have a chance to win. We celebrate those who go to battle armed with little more than courage and the confidence that they are fighting the good fight.
“The victory of Cinco de Mayo endures. On the fifth of May in the year 2011, Mexico is still free. The Mexican-American community is more pivotal than ever to the future of our diverse society. The Hispanic heritage in this country has never been stronger. This holiday has grown from a day our Hispanic community celebrates to one all Americans observe. And since the victory of a small band of believers at the Battle of Puebla, no force from another continent has ever invaded the Americas.
“The bravery displayed in that battle still inspires the world – and the dedication of Mexican-Americans to the spirit of that fight continues to improve it.”