Puerto Vallarta’s Niños Héroes Ceremony – First Holiday Event

This morning Puerto Vallarta held a civic ceremony to honor Los Niños Héroes (the Boy Heroes of Chapultepec) – complete with a roll call, wreath and honor guard, in the main square of El Pitillal. (shown in photo released by the municipality)

Los Niños Héroes (Boy Heroes), 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.

Juan de la Barrera
was born in Mexico City in 1828, the son of Ignacio Mario de la Barrera, an army general, and Juana Inzárruaga. He enlisted at the age of 12 and was admitted to the Academy on 18 November 1843. During the attack on Chapultepec he was a lieutenant in the military engineers (sappers) and died defending a gun battery at the entrance to the park. Aged 19, he was the oldest of the six, and was also part of the school faculty as a volunteer teacher in engineering.

Juan Escutia
was born in Tepic (today’s capital of the state of Nayarit) at some time between 1828 and 1832. Records show he was admitted to the Academy as a cadet on 8 September 1847, but his other papers were lost during the assault. He is believed to have been a second lieutenant in an artillery company. It is claimed that this cadet officer wrapped himself up in the flag and jumped from the roof to keep it from falling into enemy hands. His body was found on the east flank of the hill, alongside that of Francisco Márquez. A large mural above the stairway painted by muralist Gabriel Flores depicts his jump from the roof with the Mexican flag. This account has been regarded as a legend by several modern Mexican historians.[2]

Francisco Márquez
was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, in 1834. Following the death of his father, his mother, Micaela Paniagua, remarried Francisco Ortiz, a cavalry captain. He applied to the Academy on 14 January 1847 and, at the time of the battle, belonged to the first company of cadets. A note included in his personnel record says his body was found on the east flank of the hill, alongside that of Juan Escutia. At 13 years old, he was the youngest of the six heroes.

Agustín Melgar
was a native of Chihuahua, Chihuahua, born there at some time between 1828 and 1832. He was the son of Esteban Melgar, a lieutenant colonel in the army, and María de la Luz Sevilla, both of whom died while he was still young, leaving him the ward of his older sister. He applied to the Academy on 4 November 1846. A note in his personnel record explains that after finding himself alone, he tried to stop the enemy on the north side of the castle.

Fernando Montes de Oca
was born in Azcapotzalco, then a town just to the north of Mexico City and nowadays one of the boroughs of the Federal District, between 1828 and 1832. His parents were José María Montes de Oca and Josefa Rodríguez. He had applied to the Academy on 24 January 1847, and was one of the cadets who remained in the castle. His personnel record reads: “Died for his country on 13 September 1847.”

Vicente Suárez
was born in 1833 in Puebla, Puebla. He was the son of Miguel Suárez, a cavalry officer, and María de la Luz Ortega. He applied for admission to the Academy on 21 October 1845, and during his stay was an officer cadet.


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