I was recently asked to write about why someone would ask me to write about the phrase “A message to Garcia”. The obvious first approach for most people would be to Google it and check out the first/most popular wiki regarding the phrase. According to Wikipedia: “A Message to Garcia is a best-selling inspirational essay by Elbert Hubbard, published in 1899.”
It was subsequently made into 2 motion pictures, as a pamphlet and book it was reprinted over 40 million times in 37 different languages. Apparently the phrase “taking a message to Garcia” is still used by high ranking members of the military to express the connotation of initiative.
As such a far reaching and popular expression that carried well into the midst of the 20th century I was surprised when I asked my mom and she hadn’t heard of it either. My mom has tidbits on just about anything so it was cool to learn about something new today and share it with her.
At the turn of the last century, the U.S. and Spain weren’t getting along so well so president William McKinley asked one of his Colonels to send someone to meet with the leader of the rebel forces in Cuba to influence them to back us should a war ensue. A young lieutenant named Andrew Rowan was recommended and selected to make the journey to meet with Calixto Garcia, leader of the rebels who was very receptive to the idea. For his influential prowess and ability to take initiative and follow through, Rowan was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
I can only surmise that I was asked to write about this particular topic because I am applying for a position that requires a great deal of independence and confidence in order to complete tasks successfully as required. My potential employers want to make sure I understand that when the success of a whole nation or a whole company is at stake that people would be depending on me to see my task through to fruition on my own. I accept the challenge wholeheartedly and appreciate the historical footnote.