Friday, December 28, 2012

The Duarte Stories: Blood in the Streets

In 1910 a man named Vitoriano Huerta seized the Mexican presidency to the outrage of Pancho Villa, Alvaro Obregon and others, which sparked the Mexican Revolution.  Uneasy laid the head that wore the crown, and fighting ensued for years.  Then one sweltering hot day in June of 1914 the forces of Huerta faced the combined strength of all those who opposed him in the small railroad town of Zacatecas.  It seemed at first that Huerta would win the day in this, the bloodiest and most gruesome battle of the revolution.  And then a strange thing happened.

A colonel under Alvaro Obregon fell wounded in the middle of the battlefield.  A solitary soldier without even enough money to ride a horse, saw his leader fall and at the risk of his own life ran with his donkey into the fray.  Pulling the wounded colonel onto his donkey's back, he sent his only means of travel out of the danger zone.  As the donkey fled, it stomped on this selfless warrior's foot.   Then with bullets flying with wild abandon around him, he knelt on the battlefield and prayed that God would give his side the victory.  He promised that if God gave them the victory of this battle he would take his comrades and make an immediate pilgrimage to the Cathedral of the Virgin de Guadalupe in Mexico City as an expression of gratitude. 

The battle immediately shifted and from that moment the forces of Huerta began to give way.  History records this battle as the turning point of the Mexican Revolution when Huerta failed and his legacy began to fall.  Over 6, 000 men had been massacred in this action and blood ran like rivers in the streets. And the soldier?  True to his word, this soldier informed Obregon of his prayer and the immediate result and the company boarded a train to Mexico City where they gave thanks at the Cathedral of the Virgin.  His name was Jose Vasquez, and he is my great grandfather.  His foot never properly healed and years later when my grandmother was a child of eight years old infection set in and took his life. 

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