The Marks Post: Remember The Alamo
As some of you probably have noticed, I started a new feature in The Gazette called “On This Day in History.” It is a little deal where I go on the History Channel Website and type up a list of events in the paper that happened on that day in history.
It started out as a way to fill a hole here on the Opinions Page when a letter to the editor was not quite long enough for the space, and it has now turned into a little game I play because people never know when or where it will turn up. It even made an appearance in Mamou’s Acadian Press this week on March 6.
That morning rolled around, and my dad asked me if I knew what day it was. I said that I didn’t, and he told me that it was Alamo Day. As soon as he said it, it clicked that I in fact knew it was on March 6, 1836, when The Alamo was captured by General Santa Anna’s forces.
I, then, paused for second after dad told me it was Alamo Day. I remembered that I had not listed it on “On This Day in History” in Mamou’s paper. My first reaction was that I used the wrong date. I hurriedly got on my phone and went to the History Channel Website, and, sure enough, I had indeed used the right date. The problem was that the fall of the Alamo was not listed.
I came into the office and told our editor Elizabeth West about what had happened. While we were talking about it, I remembered about my trip to San Antonio last year when I was there with my good friend Jason Bergeron for WWE Royal Rumble.
While in town for Royal Rumble, “Berg” and I both wanted to make our obligatory trip to The Alamo even though we both had been there a couple of times before. We took a cab from the hotel and started talking to the cab driver about the famous landmark. He told us that people who ride his cab do not even know what The Alamo is. He gave us an example of college students from Indiana who asked him about things to do in town. He mentioned to them The Alamo, and they asked him what that was because they had not been taught about it in school.
“Berg” and I were surprised to hear that because we both grew up learning about The Alamo even though we are from different towns and went to different schools.
The building itself was a mission in its beginning when the area was under Spanish rule. Once the fight for Texan independence from Mexico began, it was taken from Mexican forces by a band of soldiers and used as a fortress. The Alamo was then commanded by Colonel William Barret Travis. Also with Travis’ men were soldiers under the command of Jim Bowie and a band of Tennessee volunteers led by Davy Crockett.
General Santa Anna led his forces on a mission to recapture the structure, and, after a 13-day siege, retook what was previously lost. In the fight, Crockett, Bowie, and Colonel Travis perished along with everyone else located inside the San Antonio mission except for a few women and children.
The event sparked a rallying cry of “Remember the Alamo,” that was used throughout the War for Texan Independence. The war came to a climax when Texan troops under the command of General Sam Houston captured General Santa Anna near San Jacinto. Texas won its independence from Mexico and went on to join the United States in 1850.
The fight for Texan Independence was a precursor to the Mexican-American War, which was another step in the United States manifesting its destiny of becoming a country from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.
Besides from its historical importance, The Alamo has a cultural importance to it. In the movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Pee Wee Herman made a stop at The Alamo to look for his lost bicycle. Last year, I posted a picture of The Alamo on Facebook with the caption that I was helping Pee Wee Herman look for his lost bicycle.
In all seriousness; though, the story of The Alamo is one that defines what the American spirit is about and is something that all children should learn in school because of its importance in American History. With hope fading that reinforcements would be coming, Colonel Travis drew a line in the sand with his sword. The following are words he addressed to his men before the final battle:
I have here pieces of paper, letters from politicians and generals, but no indication of when, or if help will arrive. Letters not worth the ink committed to them. I fear that no one is coming. Texas has been a second chance for me. I expect that might be true for many of you as well. It has been a chance not only for land and riches, but also to be a different man. I hope a better one. There have been many ideas brought in the past few months of what Texas is, and what it should become. We are not all in agreement. But I’d like to ask each of you what it is you value so highly that you are willing to fight and possibly die for. We will call that Texas. The Mexican army hopes to lure us into attempting escape. Almost anything seems better than remaining in this place, penned up. If, however, we force the enemy to attack, I believe every one of you will prove himself worth ten in return. We will not only show the world what patriots are made of, but we will also deal a crippling blow to the army of Santa Anna. If anyone wishes to depart under the white flag of surrender, you may do so now. You have that right. But if you wish to stay here with me in the Alamo, we will sell our lives dearly.
The Alamo is a story of courage, bravery, and honor in the face of sure defeat. Colonel Travis, Crockett, and Bowie should to this day remain heros for their actions on that March day in 1836.