Friday, March 6, 2009

The Spirit of Texas

"Remember the Alamo!"
If there was ever a day to remember the Alamo, it's today!

Exactly two-hundred and seventy-two years ago, the Alamo fell after thirteen long days of siege from the Mexicans under Santa Anna. There were only 183 men inside the old mission. They weren't soldiers. But they were Texans. They were tough, and they were proud. They knew their chances were bleak as they looked out upon thousands of Mexicans day after day, but they would have rather given up their lives than give up Texas.
A letter sent out from the Alamo one day into the siege proves that the Texans were already aware of of their probable fate, and already they were defiant.
FELLOW-CITIZENS AND COMPATRIOTS : I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna. I have sustained a continued bombardment for twenty-four hours, and have not lost a man. The enemy have demanded a surrender at discretion ; otherwise the garrison is to be put to the sword, if the place is taken. I have answered the summons with a cannon-shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat. Then I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism, and of everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid with all despatch. The enemy are receiving reinforcements daily, and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. Though this call may be neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible, and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country. Victory or death!"

W. BARRET TRAVIS, Lieutenant-Colonel commanding."
P. S.—The Lord is on our side. When the enemy appeared in sight, we had not three bushels of corn. We have since found, in deserted houses, eighty or ninety bushels, and got into the walls twenty or thirty head of beeves. "T"
The reinforcements never came. On March 5, the day before the battle, Travis addressed his men, frankly telling them what they most likely already knew - that no help was coming, and if they stayed, death was inevitable. Legend has it that Travis took his sword and made a line in the sand, asking whoever was willing to stay and fight to cross that line. He even said he wouldn't call anyone a coward if they chose to leave. All but one of those brave Texans stepped across, thus giving their lives into the hands of God, willing to die for the land they loved.
The next morning the siege ended and the battle commenced. In the end, every man payed the ultimate price; a price they had been glad to pay.
The Alamo was defeated, and every man killed. So why is the Alamo still remembered so fervently, not only in Texas but all over America? Why, when people speak of the Alamo, do they speak of it like a great victory, when it was a devastating defeat? Because with the fall of the Alamo and the men inside, the spirit of Texas did not die. In fact, it grew. The Texas Revolution continued on, and with each step the Alamo was remembered.
The Texans who died on March 6, 1836, were some of the greatest heroes in history. They were the epitome of heroism and patriotism, because even when they knew there was no chance of survival, they still stood strong and fought for what they loved. They may not have won the day, but they won independence for Texas by giving their all in defending a little old mission - the little old mission that represented Texas.
Texas meant something to those men, just like it means something to me. It meant, and still means, absolute freedom. In fact, Texas was an independent nation for nine years following the Battle of the Alamo. Now it's a part of the greatest nation on earth. But the state of Texas still means several things: wide-open plains, beautiful mountain ranges, big skies, and lots of friends, even those you don't know! If you live in Texas, I know you can recall times you started conversations with complete strangers. I know you've smiled at people as you walked down the street. You might've even waved at a passing car! One thing every true Texan possesses is Texas spirit, and it's strong. It was strong in the men who died at the Alamo, and it's still strong in us today.
If you're a true Texan, be proud. If you're not, come visit us. We're a friendly state...until you try to interfere with the true meaning of Texas. Then, in remebrance of the Alamo, we will become fierce and defiant, upholding the same attitude of Travis when he wrote his famous letter. We won't surrender, and we won't retreat!
Remember the Alamo, and Remember Texas!

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