At dusk, on Thursday, January 9, 1964, more than thirty thousand protesters demanded to enter the Panama Canal Zone, an area which at the time was considered United States territory. They were enraged and upset because during the first attempt by students of the National Institute to raise the Panamanian flag at Balboa High School, the Panamanian flag had been torn and their desire to hoist the national flag along with the US remained.
This monument, located at the Ascanio Arosemena Training Center (former Balboa High School), has 21 columns, each with a name at the lower area, symbolizing the lives cut short of the 21 Panamanian martyrs; the columns together form an entrance that represents the Isthmus of Panama and, in turn, they are surrounded by pools symbolizing the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean.
At the center of the monument, but slightly displaced from its original position, we find the base of the original flagstaff, symbolizing a new beginning for the nation.
This monument takes each and every one of us that have the opportunity of visiting it, back to the great heroic deeds that took place in January 1969. This monument and the “eternal flame” that was installed in 2008, evokes that great feeling of respect and admiration that we Panamanians share.