My subject today is the name of a shrine that is dear to the heart of every Texan and every patriotic American. What is the name of this shrine? The Alamo.
To understand what happened at the Alamo, we must go back to the beginning in the early part of the 19th century. At that time, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California belonged to Spain. A man named Moses Austin, an American from Missouri, secured a charter from Spain that granted him lands for colonization by 200 American families. Before Moses Austin could carry out his plans for the American Colony, he died and Mexico had become an independent nation.
In 1821, Stephen Austin, son of Moses, went to Mexico City where he had his charter confirmed, and he went ahead with his plan and soon established a very successful colony. Soon others obtained charters, and before long many Americans had come to Texas (by 1836 the population was 50,000) to develop its rich lands. Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson negotiated unsuccessfully for the purchase of Texas.
The Mexican government decided to restrict further settlement of Americans in Texas and also passed laws that the American Colonists claimed violated their local rights. The Colonists held several conventions and Stephen Austin went to Mexico to present their grievances. He was arrested and jailed for eight months.
One year later, armed clashes occurred between the Texans and Mexican garrisons in Texas. Santa Anna, President of Mexico, raised an army of 6000 men and marched against the Texans. By this time, Texas had declared its independence and named Sam Houston as the Army commander.
Santa Anna’s first attack was against San Antonio where a small body of Texans commanded by Lt. Colonel William B. Travis, a 27-year-old lawyer, occupied the stout-walled Alamo mission. Santa Anna’s army, 3000 strong, besieged the Alamo for 13 days. One hundred and eighty-eight Texans against 3000 Mexicans—how is that for odds?—16 to 1. Of course, you know the story. The entire garrison was massacred. Not one man was left to tell the story. But the brave Texans made the Mexicans pay a stiff price for their conquest. Fifteen hundred Mexicans were killed or wounded in this bitter engagement.
The example of the defenders of the Alamo gave new heart and courage to Sam Houston and his Texan army, and they attacked Santa Anna at San Jacinto. With the battle cry “Remember the Alamo,” they destroyed the Mexican army, captured Santa Anna and the war was over. Texas had won her independence, and the Republic of Texas was established with Sam Houston as President.
Ten years later, Texas was admitted to the United States of America as the 28th State, right behind Florida which was the 27th State.
Here are some facts you may know about the Alamo. Davy Crockett, famous Indian fighter, bear hunter, pioneer Congressman from Tennessee who has been immortalized by Walt Disney in song, story and television was among those killed in that bloody massacre at the Alamo. Another famous pioneer, hunter, scout and Indian fighter died at the Alamo, Jim Bowie, the man for whom the Bowie knife was named.
This history lesson repeats what has been said before: “Freedom is purchased with the blood of brave men.” No finer example can be found in all of our history from Christopher Columbus to this day and hour. It is no wonder that when the Alamo is mentioned Texans stand up and cheer.

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