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Local News

Pensacola Honors Gen. Galvez

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Officials from Pensacola’s sister city are coming in Tuesday for the annual celebration of the life of General Bernardo de Galvez.

Antonio Campos, the Mayor of Macharaviaya, Spain, is leading the delegation to Pensacola to honor Galvez, whose army defeated the British at Fort George in the 1781 Battle of Pensacola – which was recognized by General George Washington as a deciding factor in the American Revolution.

“Irish, Cuban, Canarian – Mexican, Spanish, French – Free Negro, French Creole and Anglo-Americans fought to liberate over one-quarter of a continent for 200 generations to come,” said actor Chaz Mena, portraying Galvez in a one-man play at WSRE-TV in 2013.

Also during the performance, Mena said Galvez’ assistance illustrates the 200-plus year relationship between los Estados Unidos y Espana. 

“Now, all of Florida is again, Spanish,” Mena said as Galvez. “Let me say this: I believe the Age of Empires is coming to an end. People everywhere yearn to be free now, and if we do not give them more of a franchise in society, they may take it at the point of a sword.”

The entourage is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. They will tour Pensacola City Hall, the Pensacola Beach and Fort Pickens – and lay a wreath in the water at Pensacola Pass. On Friday, it’s the T-T Wentworth Museum and a viewing of a Galvez portrait by local artist Nina Fritz.

Congressman Jeff Miller presented the painting in early 2015 -- a copy of which hangs on the wall of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee room inside the U-S Capitol. In 2014, Miller took to the House floor to urge passage of a Joint Resolution granting Galvez honorary American citizenship – which was later passed by both houses of Congress.

“As Governor of Spanish Louisiana, General Galvez provided American forces with funds, with arms and ammunition, and he provided military intelligence to the American commanders,” said Cong. Jeff Miller on the House Floor in 2014.

A Joint Resolution sponsored by Miller to grant Galvez honorary American citizenship was later passed in both the House and Senate.

Galvez joined two other Revolutionary War heroes: the Marquis de Lafayette, and General Casimir Pulaski as honorary Americans. Others include former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg, and Mother Teresa.

May 8 – the day Fort George fell in 1781 -- is “Galvez Day” in Pensacola. But, since that’s also Mother’s Day this year, the official ceremony at the fort will be Saturday, May 7. In 2017, the Pensacola Heritage Foundation will unveil a Galvez monument at the corner of Palafox and Wright streets.