May holidays honor veterans, peace officers

CLAYTON, CA — Clayton recognizes several important cultural and commemorative dates, and I have asked Councilmember Jim Diaz to give us perspective regarding our May 2021 celebrations.

From Jim Diaz: Hello. It has been four years since I addressed you in this forum while serving as your mayor in 2017, and I’m honored once again to participate in this issue of the Pioneer.

May is an important month in history for all to remember. In this column, I reprise three: Memorial Day, Peace Officers Memorial Day and Cinco de Mayo.

Memorial Day, May 31: We take time to remember, commemorate and honor all those whose last breath was given in service to the United States.

We not only honor the heroes from our community, but the more than 1.3 million U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen/women, Marines and members of the Coast Guard who have fought for this country from the American Revolution until today.

As a commitment to our fallen heroes, their families, friends and our fellow veterans, we note the work of such groups as the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW), the Blue Star Moms, Gold Star Moms and every organization that supports and honors our veterans. The price of freedom is steep, personal and painful. And by no means free.

Peace Officers Memorial Day, May 15, and National Police Week: Observed in the United States, this special day and week pay tribute to the local, state and federal peace officers who have died, or have been disabled, in the line of duty.

The holiday was created on Oct. 1, 1961, when Congress authorized the president to designate May 15 to honor peace officers. President John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law in 1962.

Cinco de Mayo, May 5: Observed to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza.

More popularly celebrated in the United States than in Mexico, the date has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture, which began in California, and observed annually since 1863.

Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day – which is celebrated on Sept. 16, commemorating the Cry of Dolores in 1810 that initiated the war of Mexican independence from Spain.

On June 7, 2005, the U.S. Congress issued a concurrent resolution to the president of the United States to issue a proclamation for the United States to observe Cinco de Mayo with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

Thank you for allowing me to reflect on these officially recognized important events for the month of May 2021.

In closing, I would like to encourage Clayton citizens to consult with their primary care providers to determine eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine, which is available through the Contra Costa County Health Services.

Please be safe, and please follow the current CDC guidelines. Together we can defeat COVID-19.

Hope to see each of you again, around town, soon.

Send questions and comments to, or call (925) 673-7324