While I was there, I was struck by a plaque engraved with the final letter of the commanding officer, Col. Travis [emphasis added]:
To The People of Texas and
All Americans In The World --
February 24, 1836
Fellow citizens & compatriots --
I am beseiged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna -- I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & 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, & 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, & every thing dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch -- The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & 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 & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country --
VICTORY OR DEATH
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt.
The visit to the Alamo was certainly an inspiring one, because it reminded me of the length the people of Texas went to preserve the liberties that only God could grant them (and no one could take away). Hundreds walled themselves within the old mission, knowing that their certain deaths (barring divine, or foreign, intervention) were necessary to spur other Texans into action. Interestingly, joining the Texans were Americans from the North, South, and West, along with Europeans from Wales, Britain, Ireland, and even Denmark (not to mention native Tejanos)!
Now, the more historically educated out there could point out the complications in the overall relationship between Texas and the rest of Mexico, especially the colonists' refusal to obey Mexican antislavery laws. However, I am reminded of Solzhenitsyn's famous remark:
"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
As great and important as the fight for political liberty is, it pales in comparison to the freedom we can gain from virtue, which, like political rights and liberties, is rendered plausible only in light of the Uncreated Light. All the more reason to remember the Alamo, for they with all their failings they were not gods (or demigods) but, in the tender compassion of our God, they may yet be Saints (with their many sins washed away).
Interestingly, most of them were Catholic (being required to convert in order to move to Texas). The remains of Davy Crocket and Jim Bowie (pronounced Booey) are located in the back of the San Fernando Cathedral, which I saw with delight.
I think I'll leave you with the noble words of Davy Crockett:
You can all go to hell…I’m going to Texas.