Think New York City will ever name a park after Osama bin Laden or hold a parade in his honor? Before you answer, consider Columbus, New Mexico, which today celebrates “Raid Day,” a festival commemorating the day in 1916 when Pancho Villa raided the town with 500 soldiers, in what would be the worst foreign attack on the continental US until 9/11, USA Today reports. The attack so angered the US that it sent a sophisticated military force to track Villa down.
But these days Villa’s mostly honored as a hero, plastered on cantinas across the nation. Today Mexican horseback riders will ride into Columbus along Villa’s route, with a Villa re-enactor leading the charge. Richard Dean, whose great-grandfather was killed in Villa’s raid, calls it “mind-boggling,” says Villa is a “terrorist,” and has tried, unsuccessfully, to get Pancho Villa Park re-named. But supporters say the event is a treasured tradition. “This was our big historical moment,” says one organizer. “What better opportunity for a party?”