Monday, February 23, 2009

We will sell our lives dearly...

On this day in 1836, Santa Anna arrived in San Antonio and began his siege upon the Texian forces garrisoned at the Alamo.

I remember the first time I set foot in the Alamo about 21 years ago. The place seemed almost too small for the import of what had taken place there. It certainly seems too peaceful. Yet the words and deeds of these men of great mettle will reverberate like ripples on the surface of a pond for the remainder of the days of our civilization. Today I consider this, and I hope you will, too.

William Travis was Lt. Col. of the Texian forces and commander of the Republic of Texas forces, and was 26 when he died at the Alamo.

From Wikipedia:
There is a legend that, one to three days before the final Mexican assault, Travis gathered all of the Alamo's defenders in the main plaza of the fort. Announcing that reinforcements would not be forthcoming, Travis unsheathed his sword and drew a line in the dirt. He then told those men who were willing to stay and die with him to cross the line; those who wanted to leave could do so without shame. Most of the Alamo's defenders subsequently crossed the line, leaving only two men behind. One soldier, Bowie, was confined to a cot with typhoid, but asked to be carried across the line. The other was a French veteran of the Napoleonic Wars named Moses Rose. Rose, who later declared, "By God, I wasn't ready to die," scaled a wall that night and escaped, thus preserving the story of Travis's line in the sand. This account was told by Rose to numerous people later in his life.


Flo said...

Gives me goosebumps thinking of their patriotism and bravery.

Thanks for the heads up and the honorary title.


Buck said...

I first set foot in the Alamo two years ago. The visit had been on my list since 1963 while I was at basic training (Lackland AFB), but was never granted a pass to go into town. To say it was worth the wait is an understatement of MASSIVE proportions. The other places I've been in my life that evoked the emotions I felt therein are few, VERY few.

Old NFO said...

They were a pretty scruffy lot, but did a hellva job...

kaveman said...

Thanks, I needed to read something like that today.

NotClauswitz said...

A very stirring moment. I sometimes wonder, when I look around at my fellow shooters during a match - what would we do? It's often the case of a few brave men and women doing things that the Big Dogs didn't know how to respond - and getting slapped-down that makes a difference.

Greybeard said...

I too was surprised at how small the Church itself is. I think most are. But little of the fighting took place there. Much of the actual fighting happened at or near "the long barracks".

I first took the tour in 1968 while in flight school getting ready to go to Viet Nam, so it had particular significance for me then. At the time, with the exception of the Church the tour was self-guided, and I learned little more than what I had already read in history books.

Returning to San Antonio last fall to provide Hurricane Ike relief, I took the tour again. For a minimal fee you get a digital audio player and earphones and can spend as much or as little time walking around as you want. I heartily recommend doing it.

Things I learned this time that surprised me:
On the long march North to the Alamo, Santa Anna dealt with some of the freakiest weather in history there. There was a great deal of snow on the ground slowing their progress. Many of his men were worn down or incapacitated by the trek.

This battle might very well have saved the young United States from Mexican dominance/takeover. The men defending the Alamo diminished Santa Anna's forces and held them long enough for Sam Houston to build a force of men to take Santa Anna on. The battle of San Jacinto effectively defeated the strongest military force in the Western Hemisphere and allowed the fledgling United States to fill that vacuum.

For that, we can thank these brave men who chose to stay with Travis in what was pretty obviously a suicide mission.
Remember the Alamo.