Members of the XII Travelers Memorial of the Southwest are excited to invite the community to the unveiling of the Benito Juárez monument Sunday, Sept. 25 at the Chamizal National Memorial. The ceremony begins at 1 p.m.
The monument, the fourth in a series of 12 honoring historical figures of the Borderland, will honor one of Mexico's greatest presidents. The monument, created by sculptor Ethan Houser, features the president as a young Zapotec Indian boy and sheepherder reading a book while his future self, now Mexico's president, does the same at the end of the bench. The book, Notes to My Children, is one he wrote, expressing his love of family and his country.
The establishment of the monument completes a gesture to have Juárez on one side of the border, facing a monument of President Abraham Lincoln on the Mexican side. Two respected leaders who represent the unity between their respective countries.
"The 500-year-old history of our region, El Paso del Norte, is our richest asset and so often underappreciated. It has thrilled me to volunteer for over 20 years of my time for such an exciting project conceived by John Houser and continued by his son, Ethan Houser, that visually brings to life our history with monumental bronze figures," said Jody Schwartz, who first came on board as a project photographer.
She added, "what a great way to tell our amazing story to El Pasoans and the world. The fourth monument, 10 years in the making, will be a thrill for me to see installed. All great works of art take time but it is worth the wait!"
Schwartz said there will be special guests at the event including Roberto Velasco Alvarez, chief officer for North America, Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Mexico, Ken Salazar, United States ambassador to Mexico, and Kate Hammond, acting regional director for the National Park Service.
The ceremony will be followed by an informal panel discussion with distinguished guests on the 1963 Chamizal Treaty-Lessons for Today, from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Spanish Garden.
An outdoor fiesta with entertainment will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. People should consider bringing water bottles, chairs and blankets and wearing brimmed hats to enjoy the afternoon.
The fifth monument
The fifth monument in the XII Travelers series will represent the Tigua tribe and be placed near the mission at the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, founded in 1682 by Gov. Francisco Francisco Tilagua and War Captain Barto Pique following the forced migration from Nuevo Mexico to Paso del Norte during the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, Schwartz said.
It is expected to cost the same as the Juarez monument, $250,000 with two over-life-size figures.
María Cortés González may be reached at 915-546-6150; email@example.com, @EPTMaria on Twitter; eptmariacg on TikTok.
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Make plans for Benito Juárez monument unveiling at Chamizal