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Discover 6 Noble Heroes Who Faced Execution By Firing Squad And How They Made The Last Moment Memorable

In an interesting conversation about how you would prefer to be executed, someone mentioned execution by firing squad. Even more interesting was the fact that recently, South Carolina, Mississippi, Utah and Oklahoma legalized execution by firing squad. It is in some ways, the most noblest way to go. Below are some of the heroic executions by firing squad in history.

#1. Emperor Maximillian von Hapsburg Faced Execution By Firing Squad While Securing His Patriotism And Hallowing Independence

Execution By Firing Squad

While America was nearing the end of its Civil War, Mexico had a European Monarch on an Imperial throne. Maximilian von Hapsburg had arrived in Mexico along with his wife, Charlotte of Belgium to rule that. Their reign lasted 3 years.

The illegitimate “president”, Benito Juarez, had spent this time allying himself with Abraham Lincoln and building a liberal army. He and Maximillian’s forces met at Queretaro where the Emperor was forced to surrender. Shortly afterward, he faced execution by firing squad alongside his two best generals.

Industrious Family Films made their 2nd motion picture surrounding these events.

The short film Max & Carlota is available for streaming on the Industrious Family Films app…

#2. Father Miguel Pro Faced Execution By Firing Squad In The Form Of A Cross And With A Defying Cry "Viva Cristo Rey!"

St. Miguel Pro's Execution by Firing Squad

Father Miguel Pro is the Scarlet Pimpernel of Mexico. This Mexican Jesuit was known to disguise as a painter, a plumber or even a doctor in order to slip under the carfeul eye of the anti-Catholic, revolutionary government to bring the Mass to the faithful.

After a slip, Father Pro was captured and executed by firing squad without a trial on November 23rd, 1927.

He died with his arms in the form of the cross with the defiant Cristero cry "Viva Cristo Rey! Long Live Christ the King!" The president of Mexico purposefully had the execution photographed in order to shake the Cristero spirit. Of course, the counterrevolution became stronger than ever after the inspiring martyrdom.

Glory Stories has a moving recording about St. Miguel Pro. You can purchase Glory Stories from

#3. The Flamboyant General François de Charette Faced Execution By Firing Squad While Issuing The Order To Fire

For being one of the more colorful characters in the Vendee counter-revolution, it is interesting to note that General Charette tried to stay out of the war. He was eventually shamed into action by men hungry for military leadership. Charette lead heroic charges with the Catholic forces of western France against the French revolutionaries alongside the peddler-general, Jacques Cathelineau. After adventures that would fill a dozen books, General Charette was caught by the revolutionaries and executed by firing squad in March 1796.

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He bravely refused wearing a blindfold and, (as the historian Carroll tells us) with one "last gesture of magnificent bravado, himself gave the order to fire." His early flamboyant and then later heroic life was praised even by Napoleon who hailed Charette as a "great character and military leader."

Warren Carroll shares many inspiring stories about the Vandean uprising in his French Revolution historical novel The Guillotine and the Cross. Navis Pictures made a beautiful full-length film unveiling the forgotten martyrs of the French Revolution called The War of the Vendee.

Though not General Charette's death speech he was famously known to have said the following before his soldiers. These timely words are as poignant today as they were then for an age that is being assaulted by Globalism, the New World Order and the Great Reset:

"Our country is ourselves. It is our villages, our altars, our graves, all that our fathers loved before us. Our country is our Faith, our land our King...But their country--what is it? Do you understand? Do you?...They have it in their brains; we have it under our feet...It is as old as the Devil, the world that they call new and that they wish to found in the absences of God...They say we are the slaves of ancient superstitions; and it makes us laugh! But in the face of these demons who rise up again century after century, we are youth gentlemen! We are the youth of God, the youth of fidelity! And this youth we will preserve for its own and for its children, true humanity and liberty of the soul."

It is an interesting fact that Charette escaped Paris during the attack on the Tuileries Palace because he pretended to be a revolutionary and shouted slogans while carrying a leg of a butchered Swiss Guard. 

To The Last Man - The Heroic Stand Of The Swiss Guard In Defense Of The King

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#4. The Attempted Assassin of Adolf Hitler, Claus von Stauffenburg Faced Execution By Firing Squad While Wishing Long Life To His Homeland

Of course greatly villanized at the time by Nazi Journalists, Klaus von Stauffenburg was actually the German hero who endeavored to free his country from the tyrannical dictatorship by attempting to assassinate Adolf Hitler. He hesitated on two different occasions as he debated whether his actions were justified.

On July 20th, 1944 he committed to placing a bomb at the feet of Hitler. Thinking that there were no chinks in his plan, he returned to Munich to liberate Germany. Through betrayal and weakness on the part of his fellow underground men, Claus was captured and executed by firing squad on July 21st, 1944. Before he was killed, he shouted "Long live my holy Germany!"

Holding the Stirrup is a real-life account of World War II written by Claus' cousin through marriage. Baroness Elizabeth Guttenburg incorporates Stauffenburg as an every day family friend building him up to the national hero that he truly was.

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#5. Patriot-Poet Joseph Mary Plunkett Faced Execution By Firing Squad Only Hours After Being Married To His Childhood Sweetheart

Now here is an event that we would like to make a short historical video on! Most people are familiar with the song Grace, but few know that it is a true story.

The song is addressed to Grace Gifford, who was the childhood sweetheart to a young man named Joseph Mary Plunkett. Plunkett was a poet and patriot who was captured during the Easter Uprising in Ireland and imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail, Dublin.

On May 4th, 1916, only a few hours before his execution by firing squad, Joseph Plunkett was married to Grace Gifford in the prison chapel. The two were not allowed to speak except when exchanging their vows. The 15 minute nuptial ceremony was all the married life the Plunketts had. A plaque in the chapel now commemorates this wedding as (besides Holy Mass) one of the most eventful moments in the history of the chapel. Grace Plunkett never remarried and died in 1969.

Either before or in the few minutes afterward, Plunkett wrote a song to Grace probably to make up for the time he lost with her. Here are the lyrics but there is nothing like listening to Jim McCann from The Dubliners sing "Grace".

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As we gather in the chapel here in old Kilmainham Jail
I think about these past few days, oh, will they say we've failed?
From our school days, they have told us we must yearn for liberty
Yet, all I want in this dark place is to have you here with me


Oh, Grace, just hold me in your arms and let this moment linger
They'll take me out at dawn and I will die
With all my love, I place this wedding ring upon your finger
There won't be time to share our love for we must say good-bye

Now, I know it's hard for you, my love, to ever understand
The love I bear for these brave men, my love for this dear land
But when Pádhraic called me to his side down in the G.P.O.,
I had to leave my own sick bed, to him I had to go


Now, as the dawn is breaking, my heart is breaking, too
On this May morn, as I walk out, my thoughts will be of you
And I'll write some words upon the wall so everyone will know
I love so much that I could see his blood upon the rose


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#6. Tsar Nicholas II And The Rest Of The Romanov Family Faced Execution By Firing Squad Secretly In A Basement

One of the least inspiring execution by firing squad was another unfortunate monarch, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. The Romanov family met their early demise when the nation went completely revolutionary in 1917. Nicholas abdicated in favor of his brother who resigned himself, the next day.

Watch Industrious Family's short, "The 6 Deaths of Rasputin", on the Industrious Family Films app. Using the works of Warren and Anne Carroll our short is historically accurate. The life and death of Rasputin is quite chilling. It is a perfect example of the ultimate demise that will follow when leaders listen to teachers who tickle their ears.

You can read more about Rasputin's death here...

The Tsar, his wife Alexandria, his 4 daughters and son were put under house arrest. They were moved from house to house for several months. In March, the royal family was ushered to the basement and executed by firing squad. One noble thing that comes out of this sad story is that they all went out together as a family.

There has been a myth that one of the daughters survived from which such films like Anastasia have received their inspiration. The Last of the Tsars is a very thorough documentary about the Tsar and the events that led up to his and his family’s executions. 1917 Red Banners, White Mantle by Warren Carroll gives a play-by-play of all the events month-by-month of that fateful year.

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One Does Not Need To Be Executed By Firing Squad To Pull Off An Inspiring Execution. Some Memorable Last Moments Were Before A Head Rolled

St. John the Baptist

The most noteworthy execution by decapitation is St. John the Baptist. Perhaps we don't even need to retell his story but just in case you need a refresher, St. John called Herod out on his living with his brother's wife and was thrown in prison. The angered sister-in-law/wife Herodias was given the chance to ask for the Prophet's head when her daughter was offered any gift that she could ask for after she performed a pleasing dance to King Herod. 

The Church only celebrates the days on which saints died. The Church only celebrates the birthdays of those born without original sin. St. John the Baptist holds this honor right alongside Our Lord and His Virgin Mother. Learn how to hallow St. John's Nativity through the customs handed down to us generation after generation.

St. Thomas More

St. Thomas More is best known as “the man’s whose silence was louder than words.” King Henry VIII’s Ex-Chancellor was imprisoned for refusing to sign the Act of Supremacy.

What was in the document that he disapproved? No one knew because of this lawyer’s incredible silence.

After months of trying to trick him into revealing his opinion, he was sentenced based on false witnesses. Since he was sentenced to death, More stood before the court and announced his true reason: that the King had no authority to make himself supreme head of the Church. St Thomas More was beheaded shortly afterward with good humor on the scaffold.

Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons is an inspiring play turned into film that displays all the events and the climatic execution.

Robert Hugh Benson's novel The King's Achievement includes this heroic statesman-martyr's execution.

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Mary, Queen of Scots

In 1565 Queen Mary fled Scotland for fear of her life. She ran to what should have been the open, protective arms of her cousin Elizabeth. Instead, knowing that Mary had more right to the English throne than she did, “Good Queen Bess” had Mary under lock and key for over 20 years.

Mary was falsely accused of attempting to assassinate the Queen as it was the only way to convict the helpless Queen of treason. After many years in prison, the Scottish queen was executed.

Many chapters of Come Rack! Come Rope! are dedicated to the last days and hours of this heroine, Mary, Queen of Scots.

The French Revolution’s Sacrifice - The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne

Though France had innumerable executions during their Reign of Terror, one stands out among the rest. And this is the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne.

16 Carmelite nuns were herded like swine into a cart and brought to the town guillotine. Each sister knelt before their Mother Superior and asked for permission to die. With song on their lips, each woman went to their reward.

Song of the Scaffold by Gertrude von le Fort follows one of the nuns up to the moment of execution.

The War of the Vendee beautifully spends the last few minutes of the film portraying how these nuns' sacrifice ended the Revolution.

One Does Not Mention Famous Executions And Leave Out St. Joan of Arc

Though she did not face an execution by firing squad or get her head cut off, one does not write a page about famous executions and leave out the heroine patroness of France. The best literary story by far on St. Joan of Arc is none other than Mark Twain's novel. Unique in its storytelling edge, this story will heave you inspired and with a deeper devotion to this saint.


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