Last week, 25 members of Arizona’s “largest American Legion Post” in Apache Junction voted “to ban celebrations of Cinco de Mayo” at their organization. Since the Post celebrated the day regularly over the years, the ban “horrified” 86-year-old former Army corporal Harry Robert Warren, who cast the only dissenting vote against the resolution. The official reason for the vote was “that because Mexico does not celebrate Cinco de Mayo as a national holiday, there is no reason for the Post to conduct festivities for it.” Warren, however, said that he believed the unexpected resolution was a direct result of the draconian anti-immigration law adopted by the state:
A Battle of the Bulge survivor and member of Post 27′s honor guard, Warren said he believes the recent vote was a “backlash” to protests by Latino groups against Arizona’s stringent immigration law, which goes into effect on July 29.
“It happened so quickly,” Warren said. “I don’t think anyone was expecting it.”
To Warren, the vote was one more example of how Arizona’s nationally debated law can divide friends in the most unexpected settings.
Post Commander Felix Gonzalez, the son of a Mexican-American father, was “blindsided” by the resolution, saying, “My jaw dropped. ‘What is this [veteran who proposed it] thinking of?’” Believing that the vote “doesn’t reflect the opinions of the overall membership of approximately 2,500,” Gonzalez “hopes members overturn the decision.”