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Preface: Why Heroes and Heroines? 
I came to Mexico in 1994 to accept a job teaching English literature, History, and Composition in English (the latter, basically a course in writing the so-called "college essay,") at the Facultad de Filosofia Y Letras, a discipline within the Universidad Autonoma de Chihuahua at Chihuahua City. As with most colleges, so often wrongly nominated "universities," most of the students were less than enthused about the curriculum. That notwithstanding, there were exceptions. Srta. Blanca Estela Moreno A., a Spanish-speaking native of Mexico, was one. This essay, now four-years-written, while not perfect, remains a stirring example of a young woman's attempt to express her love of country. Perhaps we norteamericanos should ponder over Blanca's words and reflect upon our own endangered heritage.

Glenn Willeford, M. A.
25/08/2008


Someone has to do something
Blanca Estela Moreno Arias

One single person could never imagine how normal summer vacations could change his perspective of life. That happened to me last summer, when I met, in a literal way, this great woman. She was a woman just like me, or also any of my classmates or friends. The only difference was that real love she always felt for her native country.
The story of this woman captivated me since the first moment I heard it. Since the first moment I knew that was a special story, a story that taught us something very valuable that must of us have forgotten, and that valuable thing is the love we must have to their country. This noble woman is the perfect example we must have. But it is time to finish with the pending ... let's introduce her.
Mar'a Elisa Martiniana Griensen Zambrano was the hero who Parral never will forget. Elisa Griensen was the model of person who the country was looking for, and she's also the model of person who I'm very proud of. The important fact Elisa Griensen did would make that not only Parral, but also Mexico was cover with pride of her.
But actually...who is Elisa Griensen and what was her heroic act? That's a very common question that most of you have in your mind in this precise moment. That is because unfairly, only a few people outside Parral have heard about Elisa Griensen and her historic fact. Therefore, I invite you to know the story of this woman who really loved her motherland.
Elisa Griensen was born in Parral from a noble, but big family, that's where our story begins. Don Juan Griensen and Do'a Mar'a Luc'a Zambrano were the parents of nine children: Elisa was one of that 9; actually, she was almost the youngest. That was happy times for the Griensen family; unfortunately, the happiness is not for always.
The hardest times for the Griensen family began earlier than ever. When Elisa was four years old both of her parents die, and then is responsability of Virginia, the elder of all the nine children, take care of her little brothers and sisters since that moment. It was a hard work for Virginia.
In that precise moment one man appears to help and to stay with the Griensen family forever. In the year of 1894, Virginia got married with Pedro Alvarado Torres, a man who, with hard work, is trying to obtain the rich silver lodes of his famous mine "La Palmilla". The love he had for his woman Virginia, made that he took care of all the Griensen family side by side with his dear wife.
An amazing fact takes by surprise to all the family in 1900. "La Palmilla" started to give incredible economic outputs that would the end of the austerity and sacrifice life of the Griensen family forever, and also would give to Parral a worldwide fame.
Don Pedro Alvarado was now the owner of the biggest fortune ever. His fortune was so big, that he built the famous Palacio Alvarado, and sometimes his friend Francisco Villa asked him for some money to buy weapons for his army. The fortune of Don Pedro was so big, that also he wrote a letter to the president Porfirio D'az where he wrote that he wanted to help to his country paying the external debt of Mexico.
Despite the fact that Don Pedro was the richest man ever, he always was an extremely noble person. He fought with energy to the end to be the sucessful man now he was. In spite that his business made of him an always-busy man, he never stopped helping people who needed him. He never forgot what kind of man he was; Parral was pride of him.
In the year of 1905, Pedro's happiness began to fall down. On May fifth, his dear wife Virginia dies, and this fact finished with him in an unknown way. Another May fifth, four years later, Don Pedro had to sold "La Palmilla" to pay a lot of debts he had. His economic power came to an end. Elisa, who was then 21 years old, had lived happiness and sadness with Don Pedro, like one of the members of his family.
The pass of seven years was still necessary in Parral to know the heroic act of Elisa Griensen. Now that we know how were the circumstances of the life of Elisa Griensen and the childhood she lived, it is also extremely important to you to know the most important antecedent for Elisa's historical fact. What's this important antecedent? Francisco Villa's Columbus attack.
What were the reasons of Villa to attack Columbus? There are many theories. This is one of them: Villa was defeated in Celaya by Carranza forces represented by Obreg'n, so Villa decided to go to the North and attack Agua Prieta, Sonora, that had the defense of Plutarco Elas Calles. Villa attacked Agua Prieta; however, Carranza's forces passed the frontier and defended Agua Prieta by the North American side.
Villa took this attack like treason, so he decided to look for revenge. Villa was extremely upset because the president of the USA, Woodrow Wilson, had admitted the Carranza's government, and he decided to attack the nearest town to show his desire of revenge: that was Columbus.
But also exist another interesting theory about why Villa attacked Columbus. He had made a business with the Ravel Brothers; they gave to them 265, 000. 00 dollars to buy weapons. The Ravel Brothers accepted the money, but they never sent the weapons. Of course, Villa never would accept that, so he decided to attack Columbus to punish to the Ravel Brothers. This is the most accepted theory about why Villa attacked Columbus.
Villa didn't find to the Ravel Brothers, but the attack continued. Villa asked to the people where the Ravel Brothers could stay, but the people didn't want to talk, so he decided to set fire to the Ravel's house and hotels, but the fire got bigger and affected all the town. A lot of people die that day, and the injured were uncountable. Villa and all his people left the town at dawn.
North American people never would forget Villa's attack. North American soldiers started to cross the frontier looking for Francisco Villa to punish him for the attack to Columbus. They didn't worried about to ask for permission to cross the frontier, they only wanted to punish Villa.
The soldiers began to make camps inside the Mexican territory to find Villa as soon as possible and wherever he was. They started to advance inside all the North territory, and after that they started to advance to the South. Finally, they arrived to Hidalgo del Parral on April 12th, 1916. The most important mistake the soldiers made is that they didn't follow the only order they had: not to cross inside the town.
The soldiers installed their camps in the Plaza Porfirio D'az, in front of the Escuela 99, without suspect the things would happen later. People were very upset because the soldiers were there. Everybody talked, and also gave his or her opinion; however, nobody did anything about it. Nobody could know that this entire situation would change very soon.
A young woman who was 28 years old would change the complete situation. Elisa Griensen Zambrano was among that entire people watching that horrible landscape where all the persons were talking without do one single thing. Then she went, looking for some help, to talk with the municipal president. He heard all the things that young woman said, but he didn't do one single thing either. In that precise moment, Elisa knew it was time to act by her own.
Elisa never would stay with the arms folded. She returned to the Plaza Porfirio D'az and organized the people who were there in that right moment. Then she went to the Escuela 99; she entered to the principal's office and took the national flag. After she went to the fifth grade classroom and invited to 24 students to help her to take off that foreign force that was invading their country. Elisa returned one more time to Plaza Porfirio D'az, now with the brave fifth grade students follow her and the national flag on her hands. She told to the people: "I asked for help but no one heard me, however... someone has to do something".
Elisa invited to the people to help her and they did it. It was a great sucess. Elisa invited to the people to sing the Mexican National Anthem and to expulse the enemy. People and also children began to throw stones to the North American soldiers, and some of them made some shoots to the air. Only a few injured and two die American soldiers were the result of this confrontation, but finally, the foreign forces had gone to the north. Elisa and the people from Parral had got the victory.
Since that special day, Elisa Griensen was considered not only in Parral but also in Mexico a national hero. People never would forget the historic fact Elisa Griensen was made on April 12th. It was a day to remember.
However, what were the reasons Elisa had to act like she acted that April 12th? Only a few people know that beautiful answer. A few months later of the historical fact, Elisa and Villa finally found face to face. Elisa boarded Villa's car without permission. When the General saw her, he got angry and quickly told her: "nobody is brave enough to front General Villa, and less to board his car... who are you little girl?" She quickly said: "I'm Elisa Griensen" Villa spoke again: "you're the woman who confronted the "gringos". Elisa answered: "Yes, my General, I'm that woman". Villa's last question was: "why did you do that? are you Villista or Carrancista?". Elisa's answer was always the same: "Neither Villista nor Carrancista, I did it for Mexico".
The beautiful example Elisa Griensen gave us never must be forgotten. We must have the same love she had for her country. This story about Elisa Griensen changed my life. I wrote this essay hoping that more people know her story and become an admirator of her and the things she did, because, like she used to say: somebody has to do something.





Name: Blanca Estela Moreno Arias
Grade: 2nd semester
Teacher: Glenn Willeford
Group: A
Date: 10/02/04


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