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A little bit of irony here today, as I am at the end of the poems I have written to date and was going to announce this would be my ‘last post’ for the summer. This poem was inspired by our last visit to Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. On the previous occasions we had entered the castle grounds from the upper level. On this occasion, Sergio walked us past the monument to the child heroes of the Battle of Chapultepec in 1847. Here is the Wikipedia entry for them –

The Niños Héroes also known as the Heroic Cadets or Boy Soldiers, were six Mexican teenage military cadets. These cadets died defending Mexico at Mexico City‘s Chapultepec Castle (then serving as the Mexican Army‘s military academy) from invading U.S. forces in the 13 September 1847 Battle of Chapultepec, during the Mexican–American War. One of the cadets, Juan Escutia, wrapped himself with the Mexican flag and jumped from the roof of the castle to keep it from falling into enemy hands. The Niños Héroes are commemorated by a national holiday on September 13.

The Niños Héroes were:

  • Juan de la Barrera  (age 19)
  • Juan Escutia  (age 15–19) (?)
  • Francisco Márquez  (age 13)
  • Agustín Melgar  (age 15–19) (?)
  • Fernando Montes de Oca  (age 15–19) (?)
  • Vicente Suárez  (age 14)

And here is the monument –

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The irony here, is that on this day there were about 50 or 60 students from various schools who were visiting the castle, all dressed in their school uniforms!

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They inspired me to take a seat and write this poem honoring the memories of those ‘boy soldiers’!

 

Six Silent Sentinels

Countless children of various ages

Noisily pass through the halls and gardens

Of Chapultepec Castle this day,

Dressed in the uniforms of their schools –

Baseball caps, cameras, cellphones –

Aiming the latter two

At the magnificence of Spanish and French royalty

Of times past.

 

Below, on a low hill,

Six white marble columns –

The monument to “Niños Heroes” –

Six uniformed adolescents

Who made the ultimate sacrifice,

Defending this hill

Against the invading American soldiers –

Too young to ever comprehend,

That almost 130 years later,

Where once they were aiming their weapons,

The adolescents today would be aiming cameras

At yet another invading group of Americans –

Tourists from north of the Rio Grande,

Marveling at the magnificence of Spanish and French royalty.

While down below on the hill,

Six silent sentinels stand proudly,

Reminders of the glorious past of Mexico!

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With those images in your mind, I bid you ‘Hasta Luego mis amigos’. Thanks for following the blog this year. I hope to be back in the fall…

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