Kids heroes

No child hero took the national flag and threw himself with it from the heights of the castle of Chapultepec to safeguard it from the invader’s troops. It is true that on September 13, 1847, some fifty cadets from the Military College remained in the Castillo de Chapultepec, their headquarters, to participate in the last defense battle of Mexico City, and that some, perhaps four, died; but most of the 1,200 defenders were regular soldiers, including some 400 troops from the San Blas battalion, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Santiago Xicoténcatl, to which Juan Escutia belonged. Yes, Juan Escutia was not a cadet, nor was he a child. When he was shot to death on the slopes of the Chapultepec hill, apparently while trying to flee to the Botanical Garden, he was a young 20-year-old soldier.

The Mexican flag flew over the castle until it was lowered by US troops and given to General Winfield Scott, who brought it home as a war trophy. The US government returned it to Mexico in the government of José López Portillo.

It is also false – or, at least, questionable – that some human remains found in 1947 on the slopes of Chapultepec belonged to the cadets. It was established, without a serious study, by a decree of President Miguel Alemán Valdés, endorsed by the National Institute of Anthropology and History, which no one dared to deny. The remains were deposited in the Altar de la Patria, better known as the monument to the Heroes Children, whose construction ordered the president in 1947 and was completed in 1952. The remains of Lieutenant Colonel Xicoténcatl were also deposited there.

We do not know what was the physical appearance of the cadets who died in Chapultepec. The faces of the school stamps, imitation of those made of the saints, were imagined years later by artists who did not know them. They are romantic, idealized images. Much of what they tell us that happened in the battle of Chapultepec arises from oral histories that were embellished to forge the heroic history of the children who died for the homeland.

One of the child heroes that did exist was Miguel Miramón, who was 15 years old and was taken prisoner in battle. On November 11, 1847, while he was still a prisoner, the medal of honor was awarded to the defenders of Chapultepec. Today his acts of bravery have been erased for political reasons. In 1859, at age 27, Miramón was named president of Mexico, the youngest in history; But as the conservatives did, who were fighting the liberals of Benito Juárez, the appointment and all its distinctions have been erased by official history. On the other hand, it is remembered that he was shot with Emperor Maximilian on June 19, 1867.

The reason why it was necessary to embellish the war between Mexico and the United States is because our country suffered a resounding defeat. American troops invaded Mexico in May 1846 and by September 1847 they had finished off all resistance. In the Guadalupe-Hidalgo treaty of February 2, 1848, the United States forced Mexico to give up more than half of its territory. Better to invent a heroic defense than to recognize the bad government and internal divisions that facilitated the defeat of our country.

Tlali. Efforts to manipulate history are not over. The expulsion of the monument to Columbus from the Paseo de la Reforma, to put the statue of a woman with Negroid features to whom the name of Tlali has been invented, in commemoration of “500 years of indigenous resistance”, is one more example that Today’s politicians are no different from those of the past.

«Like shoots whose seasonings an icy wind withers in flower, thus the heroes children fell before the invader’s bullets» Amado Nervo

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