By Brenda Lord
On March 6, 2004, I had the privilege of participating in the annual ceremony honoring our fallen heroes at the Alamo. I sat, quietly waiting for the program to begin. I remembered the Alamo stories my grandmother had told before she died. I recalled that it was important to her that we know the story of our family's struggle. I wondered if you too had heard the stories. At that moment, I realized why I was there. It is our legacy to tell the story, thereby honoring their memory and sacrifice. That night, I wrote the following piece. It is compiled from things I have read, stories I've heard, and the thoughts I had that night. - Brenda Lord
Every year at this time, within the last stand chapel, we gather together and remember our fallen heroes. As a family and a fellowship, we sit and we think and we remember. We call the names, Travis, Bowie, Crockett... They come from as near as the city itself and as far as England and Wales. They were young boys and old men. They were the haves and the have-nots. They were doctors, lawyers, merchants, and farmers. They came here for different reasons. Some came as soldiers of fortune. Some came for adventure. Some rode to help their neighbors - the same ones who would have helped them. They were there to protect a way of life. They wanted to give us a little piece of land, a better life, our (and I mean OUR) freedom. But they all had one thing in common. They all had a choice. Each one of the women and men of the Alamo - except perhaps Joe - had made the decision to be there. Whether a line was drawn in the sand or not, it doesn't matter. For each of these men knew which side of "the line" they stood on. Some say they held onto hope even until the end that they would leave these walls alive, surely the blessing of every soldier. But it is chilling to hear our family's stories and know how many of our fathers had premonitions of their own demise. Travis wrote his friend, David Ayres, to "take care of my little boy." Asa Walker hurried to the Alamo with a haunting sense of urgency. After taking a friend's coat and gun, he left a note instructing him to "sell my clothes if I don't return." Kimble informed his pregnant wife that she would never see him again as he turned to walk away. The last words Andrew Kent's family heard were to a fellow Ranger as they turned their horses toward the Alamo, "this time we may see blood."
Yet they were not the only ones who suffered. The sufferings of the widowed women and fatherless children was also intense. Capt. John Sharpe told of this scene in Gonzales, "for hours after the receipt of the intelligence, not a sound was heard save the wild shrieks of the women and the heartrending screams of the fatherless children." Creed Taylor noted, "the screams and the lamentations of the mothers, wives, children, and sisters of these brave men who gave their lives for Texan liberty will ring in my ears so long as memory liveth, and the preacher tells me that memory, being an attribute of the soul, can never die." Somehow, they found the strength to go on. But they never forgot. They would tell their children and their children's children. In 1841, Gen. Thomas Jefferson Green said, "Thermopylae had her messenger of defeat - the Alamo had none." I beg to differ. The Alamo does have it's messenger. It is us. We are the "messenger." That is why each of us is here. We will tell it to our children and our children's children and anyone who will listen. We will not forget. As Kipling says, "Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet. Lest we forget. Lest we forget."