Thermopylae had her messenger of defeat-the Alamo had none.
Thomas Jefferson Green
Today is the 177th Anniversary of the fall of the Alamo. The above Ballad of the Alamo is from the Alamo (1960), John Wayne’s love note to America. The film was scored by Dimitri Tiomkin, one of the true masters of film music. Here is Wayne’s film in eight and a half minutes:
I can never write about the Alamo film without showing this clip of John Wayne giving his Republic speech:
I have always been deeply moved by the letter of Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis asking for aid from “all Americans in the world”:
To The People of Texas and All Americans In The World — February 24, 1836
Fellow citizens & compatriots — I am beseiged, 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, & every thing 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 Barret 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 & got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves —
No aid was forthcoming. Travis and his men died at the Alamo, fighting to the last and winning victory in death.