“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
by Gary Lanham
I look forward to getting updates and seeing pictures from Commander O’Leary’s annual travel to the 71st Anniversary Iwo Jima-Ira Hayes Memorial this past week. Each year he and Nancy return with beautiful pictures showing the celebrations and parades marking the remarkable person and events with full military regalia as only the USMC and Tribal members can produce. They certainly did not miss much here as our last meeting had to be cancelled due to the high winds and fire dangers in the area!
This week long ago in 1836 Texan Colonel William Travis sent a desperate plea for help for the besieged defenders of the Alamo, ending the message with the famous last words, “Victory or Death.” His path to the Alamo began five years earlier when he moved to the Mexican state of Texas to start fresh after a failed marriage in Alabama. Trained as a lawyer, he established a law office in Anahuac, where he quickly gained a reputation for his willingness to defy the local Mexican officials. In 1832, a minor confrontation with the Mexican government landed Travis in jail. When he was freed a month later, many Anglo settlers hailed him as a hero. As Anglo-American resentment toward the Mexican government grew, Travis was increasingly viewed as a strong leader among those seeking an independent Texan republic.
When the Texas revolution began in 1835, Travis joined the revolutionary army. In February 1836, he was made a lieutenant colonel and given command of the regular Texas troops in San Antonio. On February 23, the Mexican army under Santa Ana arrived in the city unexpectedly. Travis and his troops retreated to the Alamo, an old Spanish mission and fortress, where they were soon joined by James Bowie’s volunteer force.
The Mexican army of 5,000 soldiers badly outnumbered the several hundred defenders of the Alamo. Their determination was fierce, though, and when Santa Ana asked for their surrender the following day, Travis answered with a cannon shot. Furious, Santa Ana began a siege. Recognizing he was doomed to defeat without reinforcements, Travis dispatched via couriers several messages asking for help. The most famous was addressed to “The People of Texas and All Americans in the World” and was signed “Victory or Death.” Unfortunately, it was to be death for the defenders: only 32 men from nearby Gonzales responded to Travis’ call for reinforcements. On March 6, the Mexicans stormed the Alamo and Travis, Bowie, and about 190 of their comrades were killed.
The Texans made Santa Ana pay for his victory, though, having claimed at least 600 of his men during the attack. Although Travis’ defense of the Alamo was a miserable failure militarily, symbolically it was a tremendous success. “Remember the Alamo” quickly became the rallying cry for the Texas revolution. By April, Travis’ countrymen had beaten the Mexicans and won their independence. Travis’ daring defiance of the overwhelmingly superior Mexican forces has since become the stuff of myth, and a facsimile of his famous call for help is on permanent display at the Texas State Library in Austin.
Every year we Okies banter with our brethren south of the Red River over one sport or another but it’s all in good fun. We treasure our friendship with our Texas neighbors and woe to the outsiders who might pick on either.
Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM (March 3rd and 17th). Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in March are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and maybe a waffle or two and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things have to be postponed. That will be most likely if the temperatures hit freezing. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.