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Why are seven grenadiers guarding the remains of St. Martin?

Get to know the history of one of the most prestigious bodies in our country.

As we are
San Martin

The following is a story that has some myth (all the great stories have some myth) and some certain. But as is often the case with fiction, it's more interesting if we give it a full value of truth. So let's count it as if it were indisputable. Let's see.

The General St. Martin died, as we all know, on August 17, 1850. 30 years later, in May 1880, his remains arrived in the city of Buenos Aires, where they remained until today. It was being listened to a clause that the Saint Martin had included in his will: “I wish my heart would be deposited in Buenos Aires”.

In 1826, when Latin America's liberating campaign was already ending, the surviving grenadiers, without money to settle their return to Buenos Aires, met a patriot who put the money out of his pocket. 23 wagons and 78 grenadiers launched a again.

Arriving in Buenos Aires, they found that most of the Porteños (as would happen over and over again throughout history, the case of the former Malvinas fighters is a good example), completely ignored them. They formed in Plaza de Mayo, then marched to what is now Plaza San Martín (there were the original regiment barracks) and stayed waiting for orders . A few months later, Rivadavia, the new president, recruited them to be part of the presidential custody. A little later they were made available for the Brazilian war and, once the conflict ended (in 1828) , the unity was dissolved.

More than 50 years later, on Friday 28 May 1880, when the remains of San Martín returned to touch Argentine soil, it was a crowd that had gathered to give him the honors:students, journalists, members of the Rural Society, and many personalities who did not want to miss the occasion (such as former Presidents Sarmiento and Mitre and current President Avellaneda). Suddenly, from the bottom, seven riders were advancing to the pass. They wore worn worn, faded uniforms . In many places, even, mended. The crowd didn't recognize them. Until they were closer and there was no doubt: they were grenadiers.

No one had summoned them, they had not been taken into account. But they, knowing that their boss was returning home, escorted the coffin from the port to the Metropolitan Cathedral. They were on guard all night . The next morning, they disappeared with the same humility and hidalguía with which they had appeared.

It was Roca who, in his second presidency, reassembled the regiment and asked his leaders to choose every day the best seven men to guard the tomb of San Martín , one of the few Argentine proceres beyond any rift: no one disputes him as the Father of the Fatherland (and of the continent).

As a closure, I leave you a video of the grenadiers' shift of guard. I don't know why, but every time I see him I get excited. Maybe because it makes me think of moments in history when “Let's be free, that everything else matters nothing” was not a phrase made but a real incentive to

Publication Date: 09/04/2019

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