President of Mexico invited to 90th annual memorial service of Emilio Carranza

Memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 14 at noon located at the site of the crash off of Carranza Road.

This year marks the 90th annual memorial service in honor of Capt. Emilio Carranza, a beloved pilot of the Mexican Army Air Corps.

This year, however, local officials are hopeful a special guest will be in attendance.

In 1928, Carranza set out on a goodwill flight from Mexico City to Washington, D.C., then from Washington, D.C., to New York City. Despite a lightning storm, he set off on his return flight to Mexico City on July 12, 1928, where he crashed into the woods of Tabernacle and Shamong.

His body was recovered by members of the American Legion Mount Holly Post 11, and Carranza has been honored every year since. Members of the Mount Holly Post and local dignitaries will host the 90th annual memorial service on Saturday, July 14, at noon at the site of the crash off of Carranza Road. A nature hike will take place starting at 11 a.m. near the memorial site, and all are welcome to join.

According to Shamong Township officials, guests, including Carranza relatives, area law enforcement, veterans, local officials and others will gather around the front of the memorial.

Alicia Kerber, consulate of Mexico in Philadelphia, will be in attendance at this year’s memorial celebration, and will lay a wreath at the foot of the memorial in honor of the young aviator.

The memorial will feature speakers and representatives from 24 groups, including Mexican cultural organizations, Boy Scout troops, veteran groups and the Mexican embassy, who will also lay wreaths. The event will incorporate a re-enactment of the recovery of Carranza’s body that will be presented by the Mount Holly Post members.

Shamong Mayor Michael Di Croce reached out to the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, to invite him to this memorial service.

The invitation welcomed Nieto to the memorial by saying, “We would be most honored for you to join us in honoring Captain Emilio Carranza Rodriguez and his heroic goodwill flight as this is a very special moment for the Mexican and American people.”

In regard to the recent immigration issues between the two countries, Di Croce said, “Something like the Carranza memorial, which is a positive event to celebrate someone’s life who died tragically in America, it’s is a great opportunity to allow some good feelings to rise to the top and perhaps come up with ways to resolve current problems.”

Nieto’s response to the invitation is pending, however, Di Croce is hopeful he will be in attendance, stating, “We want to let him know the people of America remember what Carranza did and we cherish the relationship between the two countries.”