Gringo Lost

Words about things and stuff

The children who died for their country.

with one comment

This week is a tremendously historical week for Mexico.  Not only is today particularly important because it is the day that Mexicans began their long-fight for independence from Spain, but this week in 1847 also marks the anniversary of the US occupation in Mexico City.

Beginning in early September, the occupation was intended to break the Mexican people’s will to fight against US territorial acquisitions north of the Rio Grande.  But, the inherently violent and imperialistic intervention has tormented the Mexican psyche ever since.

One legend that encapsulates Mexican resentment and pride is the legend of the Niños Héroes (Children Heroes). As the story goes, young teenage cadets stationed in the presidents castle at Chapultapec Park were being overrun by American marines.   Instead of giving up, these teenagers fought to the death as the Americans stormed the castle.  When all were dead or caputured and the end had come, one child refused to surrender but instead wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and leaped to his death from the castle balcony, nearly 40 feet from the ground.

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To commemorate fallen marines from the battle of Chapultapec, the US marine corps has decorated their dress uniform pants with a red line along the side that signifies the loss of American marines during the battle.

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  1. There is only one thing that needs to be pointed out concerning the story that you are mentioning: at that time Chapultepec Castle was not a presidential palace; it was, indeed, the headquarters of the Mexican military academy —the Colegio Militar or War College, in English— of which those young cadets were members. As it was the case in most military institutions of that historical period, the ages of those admitted at the College were really low (between 13 to 15 years old in average). The Mexican pride on this occasion was due to the resolve of the cadets to defend their College until their last breath. Although the official ceremonies at Mexico publicly recognize the names of the first five cadets that died on this battle, in fact the group of soldiers, cadets and professors – officers (amongst them, the director, a fomer hero from the Independence days) who took part on the battle was of around two or three hundred men…

    Oh, and you are not mentioning the heroic efforts of the Irish brigade that fought under the Mexican flag on that war!!!

    Alexis Herrera

    September 17, 2009 at 7:48 pm


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