As I have mentioned many times before, for five years we lived in McAllen, TX only a few miles from the Mexican border. While there we came to greatly appreciate the Mexican people and cultural. I also enjoyed learning the history of Mexico, it is a rich and colorful story. Being in Mexico this week has been a great pleasure and it has been interesting talking to the natives here.
After my last post I was curious about some other historical events and how much they are celebrated here. First, I asked about Mexico’s most famous imported holiday, Cinco de Mayo. I wrote about this last year and if you remember the point of the post is that most American have no idea what Cinco de Mayo celebrates. It is not Mexican Independence Day or drink Mexican beer day. In fact, the 5th of May 1863 is when Mexican forces defeated the French at the Battle of Battle of Puebla. Mexico ultimately lost the war, but they still celebrate the victory at Puebla. As I have spoken to people in Puerto Vallarta every one of them knew exactly why they celebrated that day. It is a national holiday here.
However, the other story I asked about, many knew of, but confused the war. It is like our Star-Spangled Banner; I think most Americans think it came from the Revolutionary War when instead it was from the War of 1812. One of the stories I picked up on while living in the Valley was the Los Ninos Heros. So, the story goes that as the US army was making its last push into Mexico City to end the Mexican American War the last defensive position was Chapultepec Castle. The castle was also home to the military academy and so the young cadets joined the Army defending this position against the invaders. As General Winfield Scott’s American Army was beginning to take the fortification, the army ordered a retreat. However, six of the young men dedicated to stay and sacrifice their lives defending they city. Finally, the last of the six alive ran to the top tower and wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and jumped off the wall killing himself but saving the flag.
Its an inspiring story, not unlike our own mostly forgotten story during the Civil War when the young boys of Virginia’s Military Academy joined the Confederate army to help save Lexington in 1864 in the battle of New Market. The Story of the Los Ninos Heroes may not be completely historically accurate, but it is one that bring pride to the people of Mexico. Yet when I asked about the young heroes, not all knew of the story and of the majority that did, most placed them at the battle of Puebla, the battle that gives us Cinco de Mayo instead of Chapultepec and the Mexican American War. Its good to see that it is not just American that get confused about their own history.