Mexican Independence Heroes Transferred to National Palace
The remains of 14 of the most important heroes of Mexico’s struggle for independence from Spain were transferred from Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City, where they had been subjected to anthropological studies and preservation procedures, to the National Palace, also in the capital, where they will be on public display for 11 months
MEXICO CITY – The remains of 14 of the most important heroes of Mexico’s struggle for independence from Spain were transferred on Sunday from Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City, where they had been subjected to anthropological studies and preservation procedures, to the National Palace, also in the capital, where they will be on public display for 11 months.
The transfer was made on Sunday morning when a contingent of carriages and mounted squadrons of soldiers dressed in ceremonial uniforms took charge of the remains, which had been placed in gilded glass or wooden urns.
The procession followed the emblematic Paseo de la Reforma avenue to the National Palace, located on one side of the huge central square known as the Zocalo, where thousands of people threw flowers and shouted “Viva Mexico!”
The remains included those of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, Mariano Jimenez, Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon, Vicente Guerrero, Leona Vicario, Mariano Matamoros, Guadalupe Victoria, Andres Quintana Roo, Nicolas Bravo, Javier Mina, Victor Rosales and Pedro Moreno, nine of whom died during the war for independence and five afterwards.
On the patio of the National Palace, the remains were received by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, his Cabinet ministers, representatives of the judicial and legislative branches and about 100 invited guests, among them several descendents of the iconic figures.
Two military bands played Mexico’s national anthem and offered an homage to “the estimable and heroic figures of the fatherland.”
The remains had been removed last May 30 from their mausoleum in the capital’s Angel of Independence column, where they had rested since 1925, to be studied at the National History Museum, located in the historic Chapultepec Castle.
The skeletal remains were analyzed by specialists with the National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, who carried out a detailed itemization of them.
The INAH experts discovered that the remains of 14 people – and not the 12 previously thought for about a century to have been there – had been contained in the Angel of Independence monument.
Mexican Education Secretary Alonso Lujambio said at the ceremony that “due to an incomprehensible omission,” the names of Pedro Moreno and Victor Rosales, both of whom died in combat in 1817, had not been inscribed on the metal plaque placed on the door of the mausoleum.
The remains will be exhibited starting in September and lasting until July 30, 2011, at the National Gallery, and Calderon will inaugurate that exposition on Sept. 5 at the National Palace.
Lujambio emphasized the work of preserving the remains performed by the INAH scientists, since “there is the risk that in 25 or 30 years we may be regretting irreparable losses for the nation.”
In addition to the remains, the upcoming exposition at the National Gallery will also include for the first time the flag of Miguel Hidalgo, the presidential chair of Benito Juarez, the flag of the liberation army of the south commanded by Emiliano Zapata, the Constitution of 1917 and Mexico’s declaration of independence, among other iconic and nationally cherished items.
“The insurgents gave their lives so that we Mexicans could be free, so that we could break the chains that tied us to slavery and servitude,” said Calderon.
The president added that “the unity of Mexicans is fundamental for building a future corresponding to our dignity.”
Mexico this year is celebrating the bicentennial of the beginning of its struggle for independence (1810-1821) and the centennial of the beginning of its revolution (1910-1917).