JII-May5Cinco de Mayo. The fifth of May. The historian in me notes that the holiday commemorates the victory of Mexican troops over French invading forces in the 1862 battle of Puebla. The Mexican victory was short-lived, and it would be years before the governance of Mexico was back in the hands of Mexicans. With the French engaged against the Mexicans, however, France was unable to give strategic support to the Confederacy during the Civil War in the United States. Had the French done so, who knows what might have happened.

The leader of the Mexican forces at the battle of Puebla was Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, but the writer in me is thinking about Ignatius Rivera. While the construction workers are busy finishing up the Janey II, I’m working with Ignatius on Book Three. Who is this guy? Here are the basics.

On this Cinco de Mayo, Ignatius is a 23-year-old U.S. Army soldier in Afghanistan.  Born in El Salvador, he and his mother and younger brother made it to the States (he won’t say exactly how) back in 2004. Ignatius joined the Army when he was 18, only a few months after getting his U.S. citizenship.

The Ignatius Rivera I know best is quite a bit older. It’s 2059 Portland, and he’s a 67-year-old veteran with post-traumatic stress syndrome, a recovering alcoholic, and a decent, honest man. He takes up more space in Book Three than I had originally intended, and I’m glad he does.



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