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A Short Christmas Interview with Jerry
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"This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, and ask where the good way is, and walk in it. You will find rest for your soul."
Jeremiah 6:16 NIV

Remember the Alamo

By Jerry Stewart - Vision Productions  Most of the time when we talk about our nation and its fight for independence we think of the original 13 colonies and the Revolutionary War. But did you know there's at least one state that had to fight its battle for independence all on its own and almost didn't make it? This state is...Texas. Now, my wife and I were both born and raised in Texas. I don't mind saying just how proud we are to be Texans. And since we were little kids we've heard the story of how our great state fought to win its freedom. Now, you may have heard the phrase, "Remember the Alamo," but unless you've heard firsthand the story of the Alamo, you've missed quite a story. In 1820, Moses Austin, a Missouri banker, and his family were allowed by Spanish officials to establish a settlement in the Spanish territory of Texas. And later, in 1822, when Mexico took Texas from the Spaniards, the colony's new leader, Stephen Austin, asked if the settlements land boundaries could be expanded. But, in 1830 Mexican officials became alarmed by the increasing number of American settlers moving to Texas, so it halted all immigration. Then in 1834, when Antônio De Santa Anna overthrew Mexico's democratic government... well, this was just about all the Texans could take. They didn't want to be ruled by any dictator. So in 1836, under the leadership of Sam Houston, Texans formed a volunteer army to fight for their independence. They attacked the Mexican Army in San Antonio and drove that army out of a small adobe mission, the Alamo. They had won the battle but the win was to be short lived. In early February, General Santa Anna, leading his own forces, marched to San Antonio to begin the complete destruction of the Texas Army. This Texas army was a ragtag group made mostly of volunteers fighting with squirrel guns and muzzle loaders. It was under the leadership of William Travis and a man who was quite famous with a knife, Jim Bowie. And, although they had only a handful of men there, Bowie wrote early on that "They would rather die than give the Alamo back to the enemy." Over the next week a general alert was sent throughout Texas. A call to arms for volunteers to come and fight for the independence of Texas. Then, on February 9th, Davey Crockett and 14 other Tennessee volunteers arrived at the Alamo. There was a great celebration that such a famous fighter was there to fight for Texas. But they still had too few Men and General Santa Anna was on his way with his powerful Mexican army. When Santa Anna and his army did arrive they immediately surrounded the Alamo and gave the man inside his ultimatum... Surrender or die. Travis' answer came quickly...A cannon shot of defiance. But, they were surrounded... it seemed their fate was sealed. That night, Colonel Travis sent out one last plea for help. In this plea he said, "Our flag still waves proudly from the walls of the Alamo, and I shall never surrender or retreat. I call on you in the name of liberty, or patriotism, and everything dear to the American character to come to our aid. But, if this call is neglected, I am determined to die like a soldier who never forgets what is due for his own honor and the honor of his country...victory or death." On February 25th, 1836, the morning after Travis wrote his historic letter, the Mexican army made their first attack, but they were driven back. Over the next days, as the fighting continued, the powerful Mexican army tightened around the fortress, but Travis still refused to surrender. Then, on March 1st, a last few Texas soldiers sneaked into the Alamo, bringing their total to just 184 men, surrounded by literally thousands of Mexican troops. But they fought on, not allowing one Mexican soldier to breach their walls. Then, when the sun rose on March 5th, the defenders saw that the last sight of their hope had disappeared. Mexican cannons had moved to within 200 yards and all that day they bombarded the tiny mission. All the Texans could do was just cover and wait. That night, Travis gathered his men before him. He explained just how proud he was of each of them that they had been able to hold back Santa Anna's army for 12 full days. But, now they must face reality. No more troops would come and they were low on ammunition. He suspected that the next day a full out assault would come from Santa Anna and it was only a matter of time until the Mexican army would finally make it inside the Alamo. When Travis finished his speech, he pulled out his army saber and drew a long line in the sand. He told the men there was still time for them to leave the Alamo that night and that no one, if they left, would be seen as a coward. But, he must know now...did they want to leave or stay?...and fight to their death? Any who were staying must now cross his line. Amazingly, even though each man knew that death was certain, all but one crossed the line...they were determined to bravely fight until the end. Well, just as Travis suspected, that next morning they were awakened by Mexican bugle calls. It was a call for a full assault. The Mexican army formed battle lines on all sides of the Alamo, and, on signal, they rushed the walls. The Texans unleashed a fearsome counterattack that repelled the first two powerful assaults. Until, finally, the third charge reached the Alamo's walls and Mexican soldiers poured inside. As the fighting now became hand-to-hand combat, the Texans fought courageously. But, then, after only a little more than an hour, the final Texan lay dead on the dusty floors of the Alamo. It now belonged to Santa Anna, but the price he paid was enormous, as more than 1500 Mexican soldiers were killed. But, more than that, the time spent by Santa Anna to defeat those at the Alamo gave General Sam Houston the time he needed to put together a real army. Plus, the word of the brave stand by these few volunteers at the Alamo set the Texas soldiers on fire. From that day forward, each time they would go into battle their was "Remember the Alamo." Their fighting was so fierce that only six weeks after the fall of the Alamo, Santa Anna and his army were defeated, and Texas was free. In 1845 Texas became the 28th state of these United States.