Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday in History: Sacrifice in Sonora

It is easy to glorify our heroes. We want to look up to them, so we attribute to them a more selfless attitude and more giving actions. But there are some heroes who need no embellishment. Some simply give their lives to save others.
On this day in history in 1907, a locomotive with a faulty firebox was sitting at its southernmost stop in the copper mining town of Nacozari, Sonora (directly south of Douglas, Arizona, which was the northernmost stop). Nacozari had a population of 5000 people.
Monument to the hero of
Nacozari de García (via wikipedia)
Jesús García, a young man in his early twenties, was the train’s breakman. While he was taking a break from work, he saw the locomotive’s firebox was not doing its job and sparks from the engine had drifted on the wind and ignited some hay on the roof of one of the cars: one hauling dynamite.
Because Nacozari is nestled in the Sierra Madre Occidental, to take the train further south along the line would have meant struggling uphill. García directed it back the way it had come. He took the dangerous load out of town, and went backward, full steam, for six kilometers (3.7 miles).
There is not much embellishment needed for a story like Jesús García’s. He has been honored many different ways: in song, in the streets, stadiums, and towns that are named for him, and with Mexico’s National Day of the Railroader, celebrated on the day he gave his life for the people of Nacozari de García.

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