A panel, the Texas Education Agency, that is “advising” the Texas State Board of Education wants to deprecate matters related to the Alamo and its defense by a band of heroic Americans (yes, I used those two terms. Both of them).
The 7th grade social studies curriculum used to teach the defense of the Alamo currently uses the phrase siege of the Alamo and all of the heroic defenders who gave their lives there. This panel told the SBOE to use only siege of the Alamo. “Heroic,” they insist, is “value-charged.”
You bet it’s a value-charged characterization. We shouldn’t hesitate to point out, even to emphasize, to the children to whom we’re teaching our history the trials, the costs, the lives paid by—the heroism of—those who defended us. Here is a concrete example of what Thomas Jefferson meant when he described the fertilizer of our tree of liberty.
Far beyond that, we should celebrate our heroes. Here is a concrete example of Benjamin Franklin’s meaning when he said that our republic can stand only if we are a virtuous people.
This group of alleged experts—they’re represented to be educators and historians—didn’t stop there, sadly.
They suggested deleting the Travis letter because they think when teachers talk about the Alamo they will absolutely mention it, but not having it outlined specifically just meant teachers would spend less time on it.
Why on earth should less time be spent on a letter, Travis’ Victory or Death letter, so central to the defense of Texas? Why should our children spend less time learning their Texas history and this critical episode in their American history?
This is the letter—which I was taught way back when I was in junior high and ‘way up north in Iowa—that these personages consider too trivial to teach our children [emphases in the original]:
Commandancy of the The Alamo
Bejar, Feby. 24th. 1836
To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World—
Fellow Citizens & compatriots—
I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & 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, & 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 & 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 & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country — Victory or Death.
William Barrett 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.
This performance of this panel of “experts” is shameful.