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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2005

Contact: Elaine Makatura
(609) 292-2994
Dana Loschiavo
(609) 984-1423

 

DEP JOINS THE AMERICAN LEGION POST 11 IN HONORING FALLEN MEXICAN AVIATOR CAPTAIN EMILIO CARRANZA RODRIGUEZ

Unveiling of Spanish/English Interpretive Exhibit Highlighted

(05/96) TABERNACLE -- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today joined the American Legion, Mount Holly Post 11 to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the legacy and tragic accident of Mexican aviator Captain Emilio Carranza Rodriguez at the site of his unfortunate accident in Wharton State Forest in 1928.

"We are pleased to partake in this celebration with the American Legion in fulfillment of their oath to honor annually the life and heritage of this great man," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell.

The American Legion, Mount Holly Post 11 hosts this annual event on the second Saturday in July to celebrate the legacy of Carranza, whose accomplishments earned him the nickname the "Lindbergh of Mexico." The ceremony includes speakers from Carranza’s family and the Mexican Consulate, followed by a traditional placing of wreaths at the crash site.

At this year’s event, the same year that Captain Carranza would have celebrated his 100th birthday, DEP unveiled a special, bilingual interpretive exhibit to honor his brief but brave life. Concluding the ceremony, a fiesta was held in nearby Pemberton at the Eden-Stanley American Legion Post 294.

Carranza died in Wharton State Forest when his plane crashed in a thunderstorm during the return flight of his goodwill mission from Mexico City to New York. The flight marked the longest flight flown by a Mexican aviator until that time. Though only 22 years of age at his death, Carranza was regarded among Americans and Mexicans alike as a messenger of peace, goodwill and friendship between the two nations.

The monument that stands at the accident site today is constructed of limestone quarried near Mexico City and was purchased with the pennies of their school children. The American Legion, Mount Holly Post 11 erected the monument with a pledge to keep his ideals alive.

Located in the Pine Barrens, Wharton State Forest is the largest single tract of land within the New Jersey State Park System. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Wharton State Forest as a state-owned site. This unique resource provides visitors with recreational and learning activities about South Jersey's rich and varied history.

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Last Updated: July 13, 2005