En Espanol
Mount Holly American LegionPost 11
Unites Nations
With Carranza Memorial
2001 All rights reserved.

A tragedy in the New Jersey Pines near Chatsworth in 1928 has become a foundation for a program of goodwill between nations - a program largely inspired by the efforts of Mount Holly Post 11 of the American Legion.

One fateful day in July 1928, a dashing young airman, Captain Emilio Carranza of the Air Corps of the Army of Mexico, received the ovation of a huge throng gathered in New York to bid him bon voyage on his projected non-stop flight to Mexico City.

Carranza had been commissioned by his government to undertake a goodwill flight to the United States. Wherever the young captain journeyed, he was received with enthusiasm and won the friendship of thousands, both for himself and for the great republic he was representing.

Captain Carranza had made a glorious flight and now he was ready to go home. All went well for a short time, then over the barren pine country of southern New Jersey, a violent storm arose and the silver wings dipped for the last time. Unseen by thousands of his new friends, the gallant captain crashed to his death.

When news of his death reached the county seat town, the Mount Holly Post quickly mobilized its resources and set out on the 25 mile trek to recover the young airman's body and pay him due honor. A path had to be cut through the dense underbrush in order to carry Captain Carranza's body out. The wreckage of the plane, so well known a sight over many American cities, was strewn over many acres.

In this desolate spot was born the Post's program of international amity.

When they returned to Mount Holly, the Legion mounted a Guard of Honor around the body and was later joined by officers of the U.S. Army until the body was removed by representatives of the Consulate General of New York. A detail of soldiers accompanied the body to Mexico City.

When the casket left Mount Holly for its last journey to Mexico City, it was draped with a United States flag from the Mount Holly Post. That flag hangs today in Mexico's School of Aviation.

On July 12, 1929, a year after the death of the goodwill airman, the Mount Holly Post conducted the first Memorial Service at the place where Captain Carranza crushed - once known as Sandy Ridge, but from that time on known as Carranza Memorial Park. At the first service, Legionnaires made a solemn pledge to conduct a pilgrimage each year to the scene of the crash and pay honor to the memory of Captain Carranza.

They pledged themselves to carry on the purpose of the mission to promote goodwill and better understanding between the two great republics.

As the years have gone by, many societies and individuals have joined the Post in marking the fateful anniversary. The section of Forests and Parks, Department of Conservation and Economic Development of the State of New Jersey, has always been an active co-sponsor of the ceremonies.

It is only fitting and proper that the Mount Holly Legion Post, the pioneer in the field of the "Good Neighbor Policy," should again this year sponsor the Memorial Service which will take place in July, at Carranza Memorial Historic site.

The same hour that this Memorial Service is taking place at the site of Captain Carranza's death, in cooperation with Mount Holly Post No. 11, similar services are being conducted at his grave site, the Rotonda de Hombres Illustres, in Mexico City, by the Department of Mexico, the American Legion. These simultaneous ceremonies show the truly international character of this program.

Each year since the first Memorial Service, members of the Embassy staff have attended, as well as U.S. Government officials, the Governor and other officials of the State of New Jersey, high ranking military men and hundreds of Legion members and Mexican societies of New York City, Philadelphia, and other communities.

In 1933, the school children of Mexico City gave pennies to provide a fund for the monument built of stones quarried near Mexico City and erected by Post 11 on the site where the young captain's body was found.

Mount Holly Legion Post was the leader in a successful movement for the return of the 1846-47 battle flags to Mexico. Through the Post's efforts, the first bill was introduced in our Congress. The return of the flags took place September 13, 1950 at the Rotunda de los Nines heros (Bosque de Chapulepec) in Mexico City. In recognition of the efforts of this Post, the Mexican Government invited the Post Commander and the Chairman of the Carranza Memorial Committee to be its guests and participate in the beautiful and touching ceremony which was precedent in world history.

Thus has the Mount Holly Legion been an inspiration for good neighborliness with our sister republic to the south; tragic though Captain Carranza's death was, it proved, like the Phoenix legend of old, that "We can rise from the ashes of dead selves to higher things."

2001 All rights reserved. All text and images contained in this web page are the property of American Legion Post 11.
NO part of this site can be used without written authorization.

Page by Post 11 Member Bob Barney
Page Content by American Legion Post 11 Mount Holly, N.J.
Spanish Translation by Ektor Carranza