As the needle bends

A world view thru my hobbit hole door

Remember the Alamo!

I have spent much of this weekend working on my family tree, and watching old movies. This weekend coincides with the final days of the Siege of the Alamo, 170 years ago. As I entered names and dates of ancestors who were here, in Texas in the early 1850’s, I feel the pride that comes with being a Native Texan, and remembering people from many places, who joined together to fight, many to the death, for an ideal – freedom from tyranny.  

Perhaps, someday, the people will remember those who died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and fought back on the flight which crashed in Shanksville, PA on September 11, 2001, and the brave soldiers who are fighting in Iraq to keep the terrorists from coming here, to Texas or some other place here in America with the same reverence we remember the brave men who stood against unbeatable odds at the Alamo. They made that stand, not because they were insane enough to believe that 180 men could beat 5000 soldiers, but because they believed that if they could slow down the enemy long enough, Sam Houston could prepare to meet Santa Anna’s troops at the place of his chosing.

Just as the people who jumped from the windows of the World Trade Center chose to control their destiny, rather than waiting to be consumed by flames, that band of “Texians” took the actions they knew were necessary to give birth to a land free from tyranny. To control where the battles would be fought and won.

The  Japanese Monument (at the Alamo)

Today there stands on the grounds of the Alamo a stone monument given in 1914 by a professor from Waseda University in Japan, Shiga Shigetaka. He found that the battle of the Alamo so much resembled the battle of Nagashino Castle in 1575, that he was moved to make the gift. Dr. Margit Nagy made the English translation of the inscription on the monument which follows.

     One hundred fifty are besieged by five thousand;

Not only the provisions but the ammunition is all gone,

Thirty-two men [from Gonzales] hear the news and hurry to the scene,

The heavy strokes of their sabers lead them into the fortress through the ranks of the enemy, to see

The commander of the fortress [Travis] wet with blood,

And his men reeling against the walls with exhaustion but with swords in hand,

Now comes the dauntless South Carolinian [Bonham],

Knowing that if he does not answer duty’s call, disgrace and shame will be his.

Returning he rides into the siege on a white charger,

Salutes the besieged with a smile and says, “We die together.”

They bind up their wounds and fight in higher spirits.

Speak not of the bravery of Chang Hsun at Suiyang, for here the one hundred and eighty-two corpses were laid; not one surrendered.

The people of the twenty-four states get inspiration thereby,

And learn for the first time that unanimous cooperation is superior to geographical advantage.

Why should they be mourned? For the dauntless, it is not a pain but a pleasure to cover an obstruction miles long.

Lo! The mouth of the river once occupied by the enemy is in the possession of the T’ang!

Now I am on a journey, far away from my home across the ocean.

I have come to [the historical city], San Antonio, where there are bushes of the graceful oleander,

And, as in a dream, I wonder of this is the very spot where the dreadful bloodshed took place in years gone by.

You do not see Chang Hsun, Hsu Yuan, and Nan Chiyun (David Crockett, Bowie and Bonham)

But their fame, like the blossom’s fragrance, is still in the air.

The custom of the West does not necessarily condemn surrender.

Why? We have never heard of a commander destroyed.

But here in the state of Texas, we see one (Travis).

In spirit there is not a distinction between East and West.

You need not wonder, then, if I drink a toast to your memory!

I have brought you a well polished stone from Japan,

And commemorate your heroic deeds with this humble inscription


September 1914 Composed and erected by Shiga Shigetaka, Japan

  Just as I am proud to be a Texan, I am proud of our soldiers who “heard the news and hurried to the scene,”  battling in a foreign place – taking the fight against terrorism to a battleground far from home. 

Remember the Alamo. Remember Goliad. Remember September 11.

Never forget those who give their all that we may continue to be free. 


March 5, 2006 - Posted by | Life and Ramblings

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