March 17, St Patrick’s Day, has always been a perfect time to honor the San Patricios.
During the trumped-up US war on México in 1846 that expanded the United States “from sea to shining sea,” Irish immigrant soldiers in the US Army found the war so unfair — as did Abraham Lincoln— that they cast off their uniforms and joined the Mexican side.
With México badly outgunned, the war would see 50 San Patricios captured and sentenced to death in 1847. Thirty of these soldiers would be hung in the largest mass execution ever carried out by the US military. That military left the bodies hanging, as a lesson to any who might oppose US intervention.
The San Patricios have become heroes in both México and Ireland. Mexican bagpipers play monthly tributes at the site of the plaque in México City that honors their sacrifice. The Irish band, the Chieftains, teamed up with Mexican musicians and Ry Cooder just over a dozen years ago to commemorate this ultimate act of solidarity. You can watch their tribute online.
Samuel Chamberlain: The hanging of the San Patricios