Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Remember the Alamo

The 6th of March is a special day for Texans. March 6, 1836 is the day the Alamo fell to General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana, resulting in the death of 189 Texians. (It's not a typo. That is what they called themselves.) Although March 6th is the day the siege of the Alamo ended, the conflict started years before. I won't bore you with the historical minutia. It is important, though, to understand the basis of the conflict.

In 1824, Texas was a part of Mexico. Illegal immigrants from the United States were poring into this northern Mexican state. Mexico had only recently gained independence from Spain, and by 1835, Santa Ana had abolished the constitution and declared himself President. He was concerned that the growing population of Texians would succumb to the westward expansion of the United States.

In one famous incident, Santa Ana demanded the return of a cannon from the town of Goliad, a cannon he had given them in happier times. The Texians replied, "Come and get it!"

He did. He marched 6,100 soldiers to San Antonio de Bexar. He took no prisoners. Texians died rather than surrender. Santa Ana had a 43% casualty rate.

Texas schoolchildren can tell you what happened next. The delay of the Mexican army at the Alamo allowed Sam Houston to gain strategic placement for the what would become the final battle of the conflict. On April 21, 1836, Santa Anna surrendered to Houston at the battle of San Jacinto.

Today in Austin I am reminded of that historic battle. Senator Rodney Ellis has presented a bill rescinding an important piece of the tort reform package passed in 2003. My heritage compels me to use the words of my ancestors. "Come and get it!"

photo by Angela Gardner

No comments: