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Mexico City National Cemetery
Mexico City, Mexico

Contributed by Martha P. Martin [chapis@inreach.com].

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The Mexico City National Cemetery was founded in 1851, four years after the United States-Mexican War. The remains of 750 US soldiers were recovered from their shallow battlefield graves in and around Mexico City and were buried in one common plot since their original wooden markers were no longer legible. Although the cemetery was primarily established to give these fallen heroes a quiet and serene enshrinement befitting their deeds and sacrifices, space was set aside for US citizens who would in the future succumb here in Mexico City. This particular terrain was selected because it was next door to the British Cemetery, established in 1824, where a few of our men were temporarily interred.

There is a total of 1,563 persons interred here. Besides the soldiers, there were 813 civilians buried here before this cemetery was closed for further burials in 1924. As is the rule in our government cemeteries, all grave plots and markers were of uniform size. This is a most striking example of our democratic philosophy of equality. It is also for this reason that the cemetery kept little data on the worldly importance of those who are interred here. Most are veterans and their families, who saw service in the Mexican War, Civil War (including five Confederates), Indian campaigns and the Spanish-American War. Here also are members of our Diplomatic Service who perished in service here.

In 1976 the Circuito Interior, presently as the west side of the cemetery, was constructed and the cemetery grounds were reduced to its present size of about 1 acre. The Government of Mexico disinterred the remains that were in the grounds at that time, constructed the crypts at the east and west walls, and re-interred the remains in the crypts. At the same time, the remains of the 750 Unknown War Dead were moved and re-interred in two newly-built vaults in the center of the south end of the greensward under the monument.

If you would like to visit the cemetery, it is open Mondays through Friday 8:30 to 5:30. The cemetery is located at Virginia Fabregas #31, Colonia San Rafael, approximately 2 kilometers from the Embassy.

The monument reads:

"To the Honored Memory of 750 americans known but to God whose bones collected by their country's order are here buried."

In the LOC column, the E and the W indicate the East or West wall of niches in the cemetery. The first numeral indicates the section of each wall; the first section beginning near the main entrance to the cemetery. The second numeral indicates the row within the section; the first row being at the bottom of the section. The third numeral indicates the column within the row; the first column being the nearest to the main cemetery entrance.

SIGNIFICANT DATES

26 June 1851 - 2 acres of ground purchased for $3,000.00. Cemetery operated and maintained by the US State Department.

3 March 1873 - By Act of Congress, cemetery declared a US National Cemetery and was operated and maintained by the US War Department.

17 July 1947 - President Harry S Truman, by Executive Order No. 9873, transferred responsibility from the US War Department to The American Battle Monuments Commission.  ABMC Mexico.

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