Facing overwhelming odds from a much larger force led by Mexican dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Lieutenant Colonel William Barrett Travis dispatched a letter pleading for reinforcements for his less than 200 defenders of the Alamo.
“To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World:,” Travis began. “Fellow citizens & 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 & 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.”
The inspiration of Travis has long been held to be the famous words of Patrick Henry on the eve of the American Revolution: “Give me liberty or give me death.” But Henry lived many more years after that Revolution — Travis did not. He died, along with the 180 or so Texian soldiers who valiantly defended the tiny Catholic mission located in present day San Antonio. Santa Anna lost about a third of his force in what he later described in his diary as “a small affair.”
“Remember the Alamo!” became the rallying cry of the Texas Revolution against the dictatorship of Santa Anna. It was the catalyst that enabled General Sam Houston to raise the necessary troops that eventually defeated Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Travis’ letter was reprinted across Texas, and finally across America, and even around the world.
Yet, an advisory group that is reviewing the state curriculum standards for social studies in Texas has declared that the standard should not describe the defenders of the Alamo as “heroic.”
Presently, the seventh-grade social studies curriculum standards include the “siege of the Alamo and all of the heroic defenders who gave their lives there.” The advisory committee balked at the words “and all of the heroic defenders who gave their lives there,” and recommended cutting the ending phrase. They had a particular problem with the word ‘heroic,” dismissing it as “value-charged.”
The advisory committee also asked for the removal of the requirement that students explain “the Travis Letter.”
“I shall never surrender or retreat,” Travis wrote in his letter, which was sent out of the fort via a courier. “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 & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days.”
But even if no help arrived, Travis was determined to die, if that was necessary for Texas to be freed from the tyranny of Santa Anna. “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.”
No doubt such patriotic words are offensive to those on the Left who see nothing particularly heroic about the defense of the Alamo.
Barbara Stevens, president general of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, defended keeping the letter and the present wording in the Texas standards. “Words like ‘heroic’ to describe such men are indeed ‘value charged,’ and it is because anything less would be a disservice to their memories,” Stevens insisted. “To minimize the study of the Republic of Texas is to fail to teach a pivotal portion of the state’s history.”
Governor Greg Abbott denounced the suggestions. “Stop political correctness in our schools,” he tweeted Thursday in response to the story. “Of course Texas schoolchildren should be taught that Alamo defenders were ‘Heroic! I fully expect the State Board of Education to agree. Contact your SBOE Member to complain.”
This attempted slight of one of the most heroic moments in American history fits the continuing narrative of the Left, which is doing everything it can to attack American icons, from George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, to icons of Western Christian civilization such as Christopher Columbus, and so on. Fellow Texas hero Sam Houston is another target of the American Taliban who want to destroy the proud moments of our history. Even our beloved National Anthem is under attack.
When radicals began demanding the removal of monuments to Confederate heroes such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, many of us warned that the Confederates were just the “low hanging fruit,” and that the radicals would soon be going after the Founding Fathers, too. That has come to pass.
The purpose of all of this is clear, for anyone who takes a moment to analyze what is happening. If one can destroy the reputation of American heroes such as Travis, and even the “father of our country,” George Washington, the foundations of an America based upon the Constitution, the concepts of God-given rights, and limited government can be destroyed.
Some of the enemies of the Founders have sat on the Supreme Court. Former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall opined during the Bicentennial in 1976, “Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start.”
This is what of this Taliban-like destruction of the secular-progressives is all about: replacing our Constitution with a document more to the liking of the Left.
Instead of deleting positive references to men such as Travis, all Americans, not just Texans, should be embracing them.
Image of the Alamo: Screenshot of an ad at thealamo.org