In 1950, February 19 was set aside to honor the Mexican Armed Forces (land and air). This day was chosen because on this date in 1913 Venustiano Carranza decreed that the Mexican army was the official organization in charge of sustaining the constitutional order of the Republic.
Women are permitted to volunteer for the armed forces, however, when a Mexican man turns 18, he is legally required to complete a year of military service which for the most part is made up of weekend drills and social work. Once this obligation is met, the Cartilla del Servicio Militar National (Military National Service Identity Card) is issued. In some areas, this is a required form of identification for employment but is no longer required in order to get a Mexican passport.
It’s no surprise that the official motto is “Siempre Leales” (Always Loyal) and the mascot is the Golden Eagle just like on the Mexican flag.
The Mexican Armed Forces have been engaged in the following military actions: War of Independence, Spanish attempts to reconquer Mexico, Texas Revolution, Pastry War, Capture of Monterey, Mexican–American War, Caste War of Yucatán, Reform War, French Intervention, Mexican Revolution, Border War, Cristero War, World War II, Dirty War, Zapatista Uprising, Mexican Drug War although some of these were conflicts with other Mexican militaries or civilians.
The Mexican Plan to Aid Civilian Disaster (DN-III-E) was developed in 1966. Since then the Mexican Armed Forces have provided disaster relief within Mexico, throughout Central America, Indonesia, and the United States.
In areas where there are military bases, this day is celebrated with government ceremonies, not so much in the rest of Mexico.
Do you want to learn more about Mexican holidays and traditions?
Then check out A Woman’s Survival Guide to Holidays in Mexico!