Friday, March 06, 2009

"Now The Bugles Are Silent...

...and there's rust on each sword
And the small band of soldiers,
Lie asleep in the arms of the Lord"
Ballad of the Alamo-Marty Robbins

For 13 days the Alamo’s defenders held out, but on the morning of March 6, 1836 the Mexicans (variously estimated at 1,800 to more than 6,000) stormed through a breach in the outer wall of the courtyard and overwhelmed the Texans. The casualties and the time lost in reducing the Alamo dislocated Santa Anna’s campaign long enough to permit development of plans for the defense of Texas and a declaration of independence from Mexico. The Alamo has become a symbol of heroic resistance. Paraphrased from Britannica

It's that time of year again. The last week of February and first week of March I pause and remember that fateful 13 days. Maybe it's because having grown here Texas history and the story of the Alamo were taught from first grade on and 7th grade was a full year of Texas history--the 3 (at the time) Jr. High Schools in our town were Bowie, Crockett and Travis for cryin' out loud! Maybe it's just because boys tend to look up to heroes--Crockett-Bowie-Travis, The Lone Ranger, The Cisco Kid...these were some of mine growing up. Whatever the reason I can’t watch any of the Alamo movies or read the history without being humbled at the sacrifices that were made.

Some historians of late have tried to tell us that maybe these men weren’t so noble as we have believed…well, real life isn't noble sometimes. After all, it’s lived by imperfect beings called humans. But in the end I expect the Alamo Defenders, knew exactly what they were doing and what the consequences of their choices were.

One thing that the 1960 and 2004 movies touch briefly on but don’t, I think, make a strong enough point of is that there were Mexican and Black men defending the Alamo and fighting against Santa Anna standing side by side with the settlers from the United States. This was a fight for their freedom, too. It wasn't Mexicans against Whites as some today want to try to portray it, it was people of all nationalities and races fighting against the oppression of a dictator. Many of the settlers that had migrated from the US came because of disillusionment with the United States (Davey Crockett seems to be one of these). It didn't have anything to do with the US government for sure...they were too afraid to get involved and more or less took the stance that they would be friendly to which ever side came out on top [my words but backed up with a general sense of the historical facts].

I’m thankful every day for the example these men have given me of what it means to stand for what you believe in. Here's the official site for the Aalamo. This page has some interesting Myths and Misconceptions about the stand at the Alamo.

"Fading light...falling night...
Trumpet calls as the sun sinks in flight.
Sleep in peace, comrades dear...
God is near."
From the poem 'Taps' by John Mitchum

[re-worked from a post dated 3-6-2006]



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long live the Republic.

And they are still sending Mexicans over the border to try and get us. Only now there are more than were at the Alamo.

People just don't get Texas. We were a country who CHOSE to become a state.

All the elementary schools I remember are either named after Texas leaders - Fannin, Houston, Rusk, Lamar - or local people. I went to San Jacinto Jr. High and one of the other JH's was Alamo.

I would hate to have a state history like ... Nebraska or something like that.

8:16 AM, March 07, 2009  

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