Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Murio por la patria - He died for his country

Today, all of Mexico celebrated Los Niños Heroes and when each of the six names of the Mexican cadets that died for their county are called out the crowd responses with "Murio por la patria!" (He died for his country!)

Today in 1847 the United States (in the Mexican American War) entered Mexico City and took Chapultepec castle. In the years preceding the war, Chapultepec Castle had been utilized as Mexico's military training academy. As a result, when the war broke out, there were dozens of teenage cadets in attendance. During the battle, six Mexican military cadets refused to fall back when General Bravo finally ordered retreat and fought to the death. These were teniente Juan de la Barrera and cadets Agustín Melgar, Juan Escutia, Vicente Suárez, Francisco Márquez and Fernando Montes de Oca, all between the ages of 13 and 19. According to legend, the last of the six, Juan Escutia, grabbed the Mexican flag, wrapped it around himself and jumped off the castle point to prevent the flag from falling into enemy hands. The Stars and Stripes were planted on the rubble of the castle.

On 5 March 1947, a few months before the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Chapultepec, U.S. President Harry S. Truman placed a wreath at the monument and stood for a few moments of silent reverence. Asked by American reporters why he had gone to the monument, Truman said, "Brave men don't belong to any one country. I respect bravery wherever I see it."

and today in 1848 about 20 members of The Saint Patrick's Battalion (Spanish: Batallón de San Patricio), who had deserted or defected from the U.S. Army in the Mexican - American war and joined the Mexican Army, were hung at Chapultepec.

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