March 31, 2015

Don Bernardo

On a happier note, I am just back from Mexico. Went down with a group called the Granaderos de Galvez. The “Granaderos” or Grenadiers were the people who helped fight the British by joining Bernardo de Galvez – yes, that Galveston–to defeat the British along the Mississippi and in the Gulf of Mexico during the American Revolution. General George Washington credits Galvez with preventing the British from opening a second front against him in the south. It helped him win the American Revolution.

Several members of the DAR and SAR are trying to get a statue of Galvez put in Galveston, and a group in Malaga, Spain are trying to have a portrait of Bernardo hung in the halls of Congress as was promised back in 1783. When I was in Spain last year, I made friends with Manuel Olmedo Checa, one of those who is trying to get the portrait hung.

He asked me to go to Washington DC to do a presentation on Bernardo for the Association of Spanish Licensees and Doctors in the US (ALDEEU). The girl who is trying to convince the senators to hang the portrait, doesn’t know squat about the history. With terrific fear and trepidation, I gave the speech in Spanish, and didn’t die of it!

When I got back to Texas, the Granaderos asked me to do presentations on the historic Bernardo to the Grenadier groups in Houston and San Antonio. They promptly invited me to join the Granaderos. Of course, you know me! I did. Now I have a cape and pin to prove it.

So that is how I wound up going to Mexico with them. Again, I was called on to perform on Bernardo de Gálvez at the Iberoamerican University. In the audience sat the University director, the Consul General of Spain, the US Ambassador’s wife and the head of the history department along with other dignitaries.

Everything was fine until I had to “correct” several inaccuracies in the presentation by the Consul General who preceded me, doing his in Spanish. Evidently, his Aide de Camp or whoever put his power point together, had no clue about the dates of the American Revolution or how Bernardo fit in. Since mine was in English, I could see the Consul General looking over questioningly at the head of the history department for confirmation. Of course, I was right!

Several months later, I saw the Consul General do another presentation on Bernardo in San Antonio, and, funny thing! He had corrected his mistakes!

Then on Sunday when we laid the wreath at Bernardo’s tomb at San Fernando Cathedral, they asked me to speak again, except this time in Spanish. I did another impassioned speech on how amazing Galvez was. I had people in tears, clapping, in the Cathedral! It was great time. See? That is fun.



Bernardo de Gálvez, Historical
About Caroline Castillo Crimm
Retired Professor Emeritus from Sam Houston State University, interested in writing novels and speaking about topics such as the history of Latin American. Would like to share the AMAZING world of the 18th century in Northern New Spain, that's Spanish Texas and Mexico!
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