Editor’s Note: This is #5 in a series of articles from the eBook titled, How To Be Texan Wherever You Are.
You can be Texan Wherever You Are simply by knowing that famous phrase, “Remember the Alamo!”
The Alamo gave rise to the Texas mystique. Without the Alamo, there would be no Texas as we know it.
There have been comparisons in the past to the stand the Texicans made at the Alamo, to the stand the Spartans made at Thermopylae. To Texans, it is a favorable comparison. Both the Texans and the Spartans fought to the last man against overwhelming odds.
The defeat at the Alamo gave rise to the victory at San Jacinto and the formation of the Republic of Texas. That republic still holds a lot of appeal today in many a Real Texan’s heart.
One of the most revered dates of Texas History is not an official holiday. The Alamo fell on March 6, 1836 after a small contingent of Texicans held out for 13 days against a far superior Mexican force of several thousand commanded by General Santa Anna.
We call it 13 Days of Glory.
Why the Texans held on for so long is debated in countless books on the subject, but the reason Texans like best is expressed in their “never give up” attitude of independence. Texans are at heart an independent republic and some have yet to concede Texas is a genuine part of the United States. Many are still clamoring for a return to Texas sovereignty.
The Alamo has also been the subject of many movies and TV specials. The best known version was produced by none other than John Wayne himself who paid for most of the movie out of his own pocket, with limited investors.
The entire siege lasted only 13 days from Tuesday, February 23 to Sunday March 6, 1836. Texans like to think of those 13 days as 13 Days of Glory.
The siege and final battle of the Alamo in 1836 is the most celebrated military engagement in Texas history, and there were many battles that led to the formation of the Republic. The battle was famous for the large number of famous personalities among those who fought to the death there including Tennessee congressman David Crockett and entrepreneur-adventurer James Bowie.
William Barret Travis achieved lasting distinction as commander at the Alamo and his famous letter proclaiming that as a Texan, he would “never surrender or retreat.”
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 & everything dear to the American character, to 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 own honor & that of his country. Victory or Death.
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt.
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 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.
That Alamo attitude has stayed with Texas since 1836 and You Can Be Texan Wherever You Are by learning William Barret Travis’ letter and holding that Real Texas attitude of ‘never surrendering or retreating’ in your heart and mind.
The battle of the Alamo is Real to us here in Texas and we will never forget the sacrifice of those brave souls to give all so that Sam Houston and his Army had time to gather and organize. Take time to remember Texas Heroes on March 6 of every year and you will be able to Be Texan Wherever You Are.