MEXICO CITY — The United States diplomatic mission in Mexico observed Memorial Day Monday, May 30, 2016 with a ceremony at the American Battle Monument Commission (ABMC) Cemetery in Mexico City.
The ABMC Cemetery, located in the San Rafael neighborhood of Mexico City, is home to the bodies of U.S. soldiers who died during the 1846-48 U.S. intervention in Mexico, including 750 who have not been identified.
U.S. Coast Guard Attaché Captain Troy Vest served as the master of ceremonies. Several dozen active duty U.S. and Mexican military personnel and U.S. veterans attended the ceremony.
Mexican veterans from Squadron 201, also known as the Aztec Eagles, also attended the ceremony. The Aztec Eagles were a battalion of pilots from the Mexican Air Force sent by Mexico to support U.S. Air Force in the Pacific during World War II.
Deputy Chief of Mission William H. Duncan gave the Memorial Day Address, during which he thanked veterans for their sacrifices. He highlighted the sacrifice of U.S. Marine Corporal Sara A. Medina López, a Mexican-American combat photographer who was killed in action in 2015. Born in Durango, Mexico, Medina López spent most of her life in the Aurora, Illinois, and enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating high school. In 2015, Medina López was deployed to Nepal to provide relief for an earthquake in that country, and was killed in a plane crash on May 12, along with five other U.S. Marines and two Nepalese soldiers. Medina received funeral rights in Plainfield, Illinois and was permanently laid to rest in her home state of Durango.
“The sacrifices of Sara A. Medina López pointedly reminds us why we are gathered here today,” said Duncan.
Senior Defense Official and Defense Attaché Colonel Edward Bonfoey and Duncan placed a wreath at the grave of the 750 unknown soldiers. Bonfoey read a proclamation written by U.S. President Barack Obama proclaiming Memorial Day 2016 “a day of prayer for permanent peace.”
“In recognizing those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we pledge to never stop working to fulfill our obligations to all members of our Armed Forces so they know we stand beside them every step of the way — not just when we need them, but also when they need us,” said Bonfoey.