In our home, March 6th is the equivalent of a “high holy day”. It is the anniversary of the day the Alamo fell and, as Texas Nationalists, we treat it with enormous reverence and respect. However, that same reverence and respect is not shared by some of our countrymen.
Some remember the Alamo. But far too many only remember some of the Alamo. These gaps in memory extend to the entirety of the first fight for Texas independence and lead to some serious errors in the lessons that we should learn and apply to the current situation that Texans face.
You have all see it. From March 2 to March 6, our social media feeds are filled with memes and messages about Texas independence and the Alamo. Our inboxes become stuffed with political pitches and links to articles that reference elements of the Texas Revolution. Politicians suddenly catch “the religion” and become super Texas patriots.
Yet, in nearly every case, they have some angle. Nine times out of ten, that angle is only peripherally connected to the true meaning and spirit of this time.
Texas Independence Day is a prime example. Politicians will wish us all a “Happy Texas Independence Day!” and then immediately work to keep us in a union that is, in nearly every respect, the same as that from which our Founders declared independence. Don’t believe me? Read the Texas Declaration of Independence.
Not only does the Texas Declaration of Independence address the excesses of the Federal Government (Mexican, that is), it also address the inert fence-sitters who refuse to stand up for themselves.
“We appealed to our Mexican brethren for assistance. Our appeal has been made in vain. Though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the Interior. We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion, that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therfor of a military government; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self government.”
Our elected officials in the Texas Government should pay special attention to this section.
“When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.”
When these political operatives post their Independence Day platitudes declaring “181 OF TEXAS INDEPENDENCE!” they miss the point that we are not currently independent. They are so far from the point, that it couldn’t be seen with the Hubble Space Telescope. To be perfectly frank, it makes me angry.
Then there are those who want us to “Remember The Alamo!” yet they seem to remember a scant few things about the Alamo. They know that it’s called the Alamo. They know some of the major players. They know there was a battle. They know it was around this time of year in 1836. They know that Travis was the commander. They know that he wrote a letter. Pretty much they saw one or more of the movies that were made about the Alamo. They then pick from these elements and use them to lend some gravitas to the point that they are trying to make.
A blatant example of this can be found in an article written by Tamara Colbert, the Texas Co-Director for the Convention of States Project. She quotes a line from the most famous letter sent by Colonel William Barret Travis from the Alamo.
“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, to come to our aid…”
She then uses that to lend weight to her assertion that, “It is time that we the People use Article V to fix the structural issues at the federal level to restore the Constitution and the rule of law.”
But Tamara has missed the plot. You see, Travis wrote more than one letter from the Alamo. On March 3, 1836, Travis penned a letter to his friend Jesse Grimes. It is one of the last letters to make it out of the Alamo. In it Travis was clear about why those men were willing to fight and die.
“Let the convention go on and make a declaration of independence, and we will then understand, and the world will understand, what we are fighting for. If independence is not declared, I shall lay down my arms, and so will the men under my command. But under the flag of independence, we are ready to peril our lives a hundred times a day…”
Not realizing that the convention had already declared independence, Travis was making the position of the Alamo defenders abundantly clear. In his previous letter, when he declared that they would never surrender or retreat, he meant in support of independence. Nothing short of independence was worth fighting or dying for.
On this 181st anniversary of the fall of the Alamo, it is more important than ever that Texans remember the Alamo. It is more important to remember the true meaning and spirit of this time. It is also important to recognize that when someone invokes the memory of those who gave all to secure our first independence while working against our second, through action or inaction, that they are dishonoring that memory.
Travis, in the aforementioned letter to Jesse Grimes, stated quite clearly how he felt about it. It is a sentiment that I share as well.
“I shall have to fight the enemy on his own terms, yet I am ready to do it, and if my countrymen do not rally to my relief, I am determined to perish in the defense of this place, and my bones shall reproach my country for her neglect.”