Monday, February 25, 2013

The Alamo!

Between February 23 and March 6, 1836 approximately 182 Texans held off roughly 1500 soldiers of the Mexican Army.  Few battles in American history have had such an impact on the psyche of people.  There are a lot of reasons we find ourselves drawn to this battle. 

First, it was a battle against the odds and that is something that appeals to Americans at an almost genetic level.  We are a country built by underdogs and admire nothing more than someone facing incredible odds.  These men didn’t have to make a last-stand, they could have departed.  It is part of our culture and the besieged men of the Alamo represent that to all of us. 

Secondly what appeals to us is the characters involves.  I've read William Davis's book, Three Roads to the Alamo which is the definitive biographies of the main characters (Crockett, Travis and Bowie).  While Hollywood has painted these men as heroic, they were all flawed in some way.  Yet they made a stand and fought until they were killed. When you read the stories of these men you discover that Bowie and Travis were flawed, they are like every other human being, caught up in extraordinary circumstances.   
Colonel David Crockett in particular resonates with people.  Here was a man that had made a mark in the world already.  Yet somehow events conspired to put him at the Alamo at the time of the siege.  It is hard for us to imagine a modern-day former congressman putting his/her convictions on the line the way Crockett did. 
Third, there is a spirit of independence in what the fighters at the Alamo fought for.  I have always maintained that one of the mystiques of Texas is that it was its own nation and never forgot that.  The Alamo was a struggle for freedom, which the US still manages to embrace from time-to-time. 

Militarily when you study the battle, there isn’t much to it.  When you look at any heroic last stand from a pure military standpoint, they seem cut and dry.  But last stands like this are rarely that simple or easy to comprehend looking at weapons, tactics, or manpower.  They are about bravery and conviction in the face of death.  That is why the Alamo appeals to us to this day. 
So, as you wait for March to come in like a lamb or lion - remember those brave men who fought to buy their country time and for Texas to be free.  

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