Wednesday, April 21, 2010

San Jacinto Day

Do you know who John C. Hays was? That he was a Texas Ranger? That his dying words were, "It's San Jacinto Day?"
What is San Jacinto Day? Do you know?

Most people have heard of the Alamo. They're probably all familiar with the iconic cry, "Remember the Alamo!" But they're probably less familiar with the Battle of San Jacinto, and the origin of that famous saying.
I'm Texan through and through, and I'm proud of my heritage, as every Texan should be (and probably is.) But there are gems in the many folds of our remarkable history that are easily lost and overlooked; pricless gems. I think San Jacinto is one of those.
A great friend and mentor of mine has composed an inspiring essay about the Battle of San Jacinto. This is enough to stir up pride in anyone, Texan or otherwise. This isn't just Texas' history. It's America's history too. Texas is just one of the states that makes this nation. Texas' legacy of courage and determination can and should be an inspiration to all of the U.S.A.

Today is April 21, San Jacinto Day. This date should be marked on every Texas calendar.
On this day in 1836, General Sam Houston led the outnumbered remains of the Army of Texas against the forces of Mexican Dictator Santa Anna in an all-or-nothing battle for liberty. And won.
We cannot today fully appreciate this miracle. In the two preceding months, the Texas army had suffered staggering losses: Fannin and 350 men at Goliad; Johnson and 50 men; Grant and 50 men; King and 30 men;
Ward and 150 men; and, of course, the gallant defenders of the Alamo. The provisional government had abandoned Washington on the Brazos, some returning home to defend or remove families, some joining Houston, who was desperately gathering all able-bodied men. Texian women gathered their children and their elderly and fled before Santa Anna's advancing army, slogging through mire and floodwaters to the safety of Louisiana. At the US border, General Edmond Pendleton Gaines (for whom Gainesville is named) waited with troops to defend American interests in Texas. But it was left to Houston and his men -- Texians and American inspired by freedom's call -- to wrestle liberty from the hands of the dictator.
Creed Taylor, a 16-year-old resident of the DeWitt Colony who already had taken part in the Gonzales "fracas," helped oust Cos and his army from Bexar, and ridden as a messenger for Col. Fannin of Goliad, recalled years later the origins of the famous San Jacinto battle cry:

"... The first time I remember to have heard these expressions was during Houston's short talk to the men on the eve of the battle. Of course the boys were continually talking about the butchery at the Alamo and the slaughter at Goliad: and avowing to avenge the cold-blooded murder of their countrymen. But the manner in which the expression became the battle cry at San Jacinto has never been given in a published history.
"The honor of coining the slogan belongs to William F. Young, who fought as a private in Lamar's cavalry corps; and in this way: As the Texans charged and the Mexicans fired their first and most effective volley, killing three Americans and wounding several, the undisciplined Texan force seemed to waver for a moment; and it was at this critical juncture that Private Young dashed forward, crying at the top of his voice, 'Boys, come on! Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!'
"At once the cry was taken up and spread from man to man until the whole force was crying 'Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!' and it certainly carried consternation to the ranks of the Mexicans....
"Instantly the appeal was caught up and repeated with more and more feeling. It seemed to nerve every Texan to fight with greater desperation and to fire with deadlier effect. It is little wonder that Santa Anna, attempting to excuse himself for his inglorious flight from the field, afterwards wrote: 'So sudden and fierce was the enemy's charge that the earth seemed to move and tremble.'"

Taylor went on to note that "During the progress of the struggle, many acts of individual heroism and gallantry were displayed; and for one thing, it can be said that not one gesture of cowardice was displayed by a San Jacinto man."

Remember the Alamo.
Remember Goliad.
Remember San Jacinto.
Remember price of liberty, and the debt we owe to those who went before us. And praise be to the God who raised them up.



Hudson said...

"I call in the name of liberty, patriotism, and everything dear to American character, to come to our aid with all dispatch. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and to die like a soldier who never forgets his duty. VICTORY OR DEATH."-Colonel William Barret Travis

Anonymous said...

From Kari

Here, here!