During the celebration of the 150th year of Texas’ independence from Mexico, our family visited the San Jacinto Battlefield where this freedom was won. As we walked through the museum built on the site, my eye caught an old, worn flag. The “Lone Star” in the middle of the flag was frayed. The caption under the flag read, “This is the flag that flew at the Battle of the Alamo.” Although the flag was a replica, a chill went through me as I thought of that event and the men who were willing to fight for their lives and liberty. This was no place for wimps. Next to the flag encased in glass was a letter from Colonel William Travis, the commander of the 189 men who fought and died at the battle of the Alamo. I had to wipe away tears as I thought of the courage of these great men who died so I could be born in a free Texas. The letter was an appeal for help. It was addressed “to the people of Texas and all Americans in the world.” It read:
“Fellow citizens and compatriots I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken I have answered the demand 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 everything dear to the American character, come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his honor and that of his country Victory or Death.”
Colonel Travis had underlined the last three words three times. From February 23 – March 6, 1836 approximately 1,800 soldiers under General Santa Anna laid siege to the Alamo. A tremendous battle occurs in which all 189 defenders of the Alamo were killed. What appeared to be an epic failure actually turned out to be the beginning of Texas independence. A few weeks following the massacre another battle occurred that is known as the Battle of Jacinto. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texian Army defeated the Mexican army of Santa Anna. During the 18 minutes battle about 630 Mexican soldiers were killed and 730 captured, while only 9 Texans died. Santa Anna who was the President of Mexico, was captured and a few weeks later signed a peace treaty that paved the way for the birth of Texas.
Because brave men and women were willing to stand up for what they believed in my 2nd great grandparents were able to raise their children in the Republic of Texas. My grandchildren are 7th generation Texans because of their courage. It is not easy to stand up for what you believe in however there are times and causes in which it needs to happen. Often the decisions you make today will affect generations to come.
You never know how the courageous decisions you make today may affect the future.
There are causes that are worth fighting for regardless of the danger incurred in the battle.
Often by small means are great things accomplished.
Be willing to stand up for causes that lead to the better good of yourself, your family or society as a whole.