Corona, Corona, Corona–Raquel’s Hero

“Corona, Corona, Corona,” which represents “three cheers” for the hero Jesús Garcia CORONA.  But who is this man and “where did he come from?”  García was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, on November 13, 1883, but moved with his family to Nacozari, Sonora, in 1898, where his father was a blacksmith.  (Now, I feel some affinity for this young lad because I come from a long line of blacksmiths myself, but Norwegian heritage, not Mexican . . . but no matter, the story is not about me! )  Now, García was also trained as a blacksmith but worked as a waterboy for the Moctezuma Copper Company until later promoted up through the ranks to machine engineer.  Well, here is the “rest of the story” as described in Wikipedia in an article about Jesús Garcia.

Jesús García was the railroad engineer for the train that covered the line between Nacozari, Sonora, and Douglas, Arizona. On 7 November 1907 the train was stopped in the town and, as he was resting, he saw that some hay on the roof of a car containing dynamite had caught fire. The cause of the fire was that the locomotive’s firebox was failing and sparks were going out from the smokestack. The wind blew them and got into the dynamite cars. García drove the train at full-steam six kilometers out of the town before the dynamite exploded, killing him and 12 other railwaymen and bystanders, but sparing the population of the mining town. Jesús told the fireman to jump off the train and the man survived.

Another article by Cristina from Xalapa in a paper entitled, “Lifesaver Hero:  Jesús Garcia” wrote:

A hundred years ago this month, a young locomotive driver had to make a desperate decision: save his own life or try to save the lives of hundreds in his home town. Choosing the latter, he drove his dynamite-laden train away from the town but it finally exploded, killing him instantly. He was only 50 meters from safety. Just 50 meters further, and he could have abandoned the locomotive to its fate and jumped off the burning train to save his own skin. His actions saved the town.

Much more could be said about this famous man, but suffice to mention that towns, streets, and even sports stadiums are named after him in Mexico, AND the mexican railway worker celebrate “the day of trains” on the anniversary of his death, AND he is immortalized in a song sung by Pancho “el Charro” Avitia, which follows.

But, what YOU don’t know is that the definitive work on Jesús Garcia Cornoa was written and published by a local resident of Apizaco, Mexico, my friend, Raquel Cox, spouse of Mexico Mystic.  Few copies are still in print.  But, Raquel still promotes her champion and showed us the memorial to him in Apizaco, a city also with “much ado” about trains.    

Monument in Apizaco, Tlaxcala, to "Corona"

 And, this is Raquel Cox, his promoter.  

Raquel Cox, Promoter of Hero "Corona"

 Genuine Tourist, Stephen, Apizaco resident “in waiting,” reporting from Baraboo, WI, USA


3 responses to “Corona, Corona, Corona–Raquel’s Hero

  1. This is a “Corrido”, similar to Ranchero music except Rancheros are for dancing and a corrido tells a story. Here’s the lyrics in Spanish and a rough translation.

    MAQUINA 501 (Corrido)

    Máquina quinientos uno, la que corrió por Sonora,
    por eso los garroteros
    el que no suspira, llora.

    Era un domingo, señores,
    como a las tres de la tarde,
    estaba Jesús García
    acariciando a su madre.

    -Dentro de pocos momentos
    madre tengo que partir,
    del tren se escucha el silbato,
    se acerca mi porvenir.

    Cuando llegó a la estación
    un tren ya estaba silbando
    y un carro de dinamita
    ya se estaba quemando.

    El fogonero le dice:
    -Jesús, vámonos apeando,
    mira que el carro de atrás
    ya se nos viene quemando.

    Jesús García le contesta: -Yo pienso muy diferente,
    yo no quiero ser la causa
    de que muera tanta gente.

    Le dio vuelta a su vapor,
    porque era de cuesta arriba,
    y antes de llegar al seis
    allí terminó su vida.

    Desde ese día inolvidable
    tú te has ganado la cruz,
    tú te has ganado las palmas,
    eres un héroe, Jesús.

    Máquina quinientos uno,
    la que corrió por Sonora,
    por eso los garroteros
    el que no suspira, llora.
    ENGINE 501
    Engine 501
    that runs through Sonora
    thats why a brakeman
    who doesnt sigh, cries.
    It was a Sunday Ladies & Gentlemen
    three in the aftternoon
    that Jesus Garcia
    gave his mother a caress
    In a few minutes I have to leave mother
    I hear the trains whistle
    announcing my fate
    When he reached the station
    a train filled with dynamite
    whistled that it was aflame
    The fireman said
    Jesus we’d better run
    the boxcar in back has
    caught on fire
    Jesus Garcia answered
    I think differently
    I won’t be the cause
    of many peoples death
    he put the engine full throttle
    he ha won his cross
    he has won his awards
    You’re a hero Jesus
    Engine 501
    that runs through Sonora
    Thats why a brakeman
    who doesnt sigh, cries.
    During a luncheon in England with Winston Churchill & other dignitaries, Mr. Churchill asked U.S.Ambassador Lewis Douglas,(the son of James Douglas, owner of the Moctezuma Copper Mines of Sonora) who was the greatest Hero he could think of and he said,” The greatest man I ever met was a Mexican worker, he was my idol, he saved more than 4000 people by forfeiting his life. His last words to his companions, said with utmost calm were, Tell the Father (Priest) to say a mass for whats left of me. He hopped aboard a flaming train of dynamite and roared out of the station, a few minutes later a great explosion wiped him and his train from the face of the earth.”

  2. Robert Cox has suggested that the following YouTube version is a better version of the song —

  3. very nice. I like the tales of heroics. History has such great stories.

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