Paraguay celebrates National Heroes’ Day – also sometimes called “National Defence Day” – to commemorate the bravery of Francisco Lopez and others who fought and died in defence of their country during the War of the Triple Alliance.
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Actually, some see Heroes Day as specifically dedicated to the memory of Lopez, who led Paraguayan forces in the war and died rather than surrender. With his last dying breath, he uttered the words, “I am dying with my country!” Others see it as dedicated to all those who bravely fought and died for their country during the same war.
The history of Paraguay was a long one of wars, boundary disputes, and a fight for survival since its declaration of independence from Spain in 1811. But in the end, Paraguay prevailed against overwhelming odds. Even though more than half the population is thought to have perished when Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay assaulted Paraguay during the War of the Triple Alliance, she still survived.