I would like to share with you a story about making a difference. It is a true story that happened a long time ago in a place that means a lot to me.
In April 1797 the British general Abercromby reached Puerto Rico with his fleet of 60 worships. After conquering Trinidad he had set his sights on San Juan and landed his well trained troops on the beach at Cangrejos near the capital. Abercromby’s fleet covered the beach with heavy artillery fire protecting the landing of the troops. Having secured the beach his ships laid anchor and his men established command in the Bishops house near the church of San Mateo.
General Don Ramon of San Juan quickly prepared the city for the attack setting up a mounted patrol to defend the countryside from looting, gathering small boats and placing artillery pieces in them to protect the bay, and the woman, children, and older people were evacuated from the city. He also had the bridges rendered impassable making the approach to the city slow and difficult for the invaders.
Abercromby marched his troops west to the capital and at reaching the bridge of San Antonio he met heavy resistance from the fort San Geronimo nearby. Stopping his advance, trenches had to be dug and gunfire was exchanged. On the 17th of April the siege had began and do to the artillery from the fort and the small boats Abercromby could not bring his frigates closer to the battle.
After two weeks the battle had been fought to a standstill, and on the 30th of April the Bishop had a talk with the quartermaster of the city and organized a procession though the streets of San Juan to pray for peace. The whole city was to participate being lead by the civil authorities. It was decided to start the march in the evening, giving everyone candles or torches, and to end the procession at dawn when everyone would gather in the church for mass with a full orchestra. And so the bells of the church were rung and it all began.
That night Abercromby’s men reported to the headquarters that a large commotion had been going on in the city. The church bells were ringing and the western part of the city was illuminated. Abercromby concluded that reinforcements had arrived from the countryside and ordered heavy musket fire towards the fort and the small boats defending the city with their artillery. Then at midnight reports came in that the number of light were growing and that now they where headed eastward toward them.
Abercromby gathered his staff and told them that after all this time they had not gotten any further than what they had on the first days of the raid. With reinforcements coming in it was clear that they are preparing for a great counter attack. So the order was given to load the ships and by dawn on the first of May the siege was over.
The people won the battle that night without a fight. They won the battle by daring to hope that they could win. Now don’t get me wrong, I know you can’t win every battle that easily, but I know you can’t win even one without showing up.