A bronze statue of Mexican president Benito Juárez will be unveiled at Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, Texas on September 25, 2022.
The monument will be the fourth installment of the XII Travelers Memorial of the Southwest series, a tribute to a dozen pioneers and historical figures who traversed through the Pass of the North area now known as the Paso del Norte region.
It will also serve as a corresponding gesture to Mexico’s 1964 installment of a bronze Abraham Lincoln statue that was placed near Parque Chamizal in Ciudad Juárez, El Paso’s sister city just across the border. The dedication to Lincoln is seen as a symbol of unity initiated by both countries’ presidents at that time – President Lyndon B. Johnson and President Adolfo Lopez Mateos.
The Chamizal Treaty was the result of a 100 year-old boundary dispute between Mexico and the United States that began with the changing course of the Rio Grande River during Juarez’s and Lincoln’s presidencies. On September 25, 1964, Presidents Johnson and Lopez Mateos met at the top of the Stanton Street Bridge, an international bridge that connects El Paso and Juárez to this day, to shake hands and officially end the century-long border conflict.
Sculptor and painter John Sherrill Houser began the series with the help of his son, sculptor Ethan Taliesin Houser. After the elder Houser unexpectedly passed away in 2018, Ethan continued with his father’s monumental series by completing work on the fourth monument, “Benito Juárez – Child to Man”.
Upon completion, Chamizal National Memorial will accept the statue as a gift that will be permanently displayed. Once installed, Juárez’s and Lincoln’s statues will respectfully face one another across the border, finalizing the long overdue dedication to two contemparies who never met but whose friendship and deep respect for one another during their nation’s respective wars serve as an inspiration to many today.
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