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WHY WE “REMEMBER THE ALAMO”

by Bro. Dwight Stevens,
Chairman, Masonic Education and Service Committee
(printed in The Texas Mason, Spring 1998)

During his year (1998), Grand Master Harry G. Cunningham had as his emblem the Alamo Mission overlaid with the Square and Compasses.  This emblem should hold special meaning to all Texas Masons.  The Alamo should be remembered as the place where the Mexican Army, under command of General Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna, stormed a former Mexican mission defended by a band of Texans fighting for their independence.  Among the defenders were our Masonic Brothers James Bonham, Jim Bowie, David Crockett, Almaron Dickenson and Col. William Barrett Travis.

In rooms where priests had prayed, bayonets clashed with Bowie Knives and swords.  Musket and cannon fire tore into the Texan defenders.  By dawn, all the Texan combatants lay dead.  Their sacrifice, on March 6, 1836, would immortalize them as legends, and turn the Alamo grounds into Sacred Ground.

Each year more than three million Americans visit the Alamo.  For many of the visitors, who gaze with reverence at the paintings and exhibits, the Alamo is more shrine than historic monument.  They have come to the Alamo to honor those whose death gave birth to a Republic.

Brother William Barrett Travis, Commander of the Alamo garrison, is said to have drawn a line in thesand requesting all who would stay and fight to: “step across the line.”  He drew that line not only in the sand, but into the hearts and minds of every Texas Mason.

Many months after the battle, the charred remains of the Alamo defenders were laid to rest not far from the Alamo itself.  Presiding at the ceremony was Brother Juan Sequin.  The words he spoke at the interment speak to us even today:

“The spirit of liberty appears to be looking down from it’s elevated throne saying:  Behold your Brothers: Crockett, Bowie, Travis.  They preferred to die a thousand times rather than submit themselves to the tyrants yoke.  Their sacrifices are worthy of inclusion in the pages of history.  What a brilliant example for others to follow.”

If you have not had the opportunity to visit the Alamo, please do so at your earliest possible convenience.  The Daughter’s of the Republic of Texas have lovingly turned the Alamo Mission into a shrine.  It remains to this day a shrine to the heroes of Texas liberty.  The veneration of the defenders reached a new height in 1939 with the dedication of The Alamo Cenotaph.  Towering sixty feet above the Alamo, the monument’s theme is: “The Spirit of Sacrifice”.  Statues of the principal defenders, and the names of all the Texans who died at the Alamo, are carved into the granite foundation.  During your visit, you will find that the Alamo is a powerful place.  It’s a place filled with legends and memories.  It’s a place we all should go think about our own potential, about what we need to sacrifice so that we can keep the fraternity on the road that those men fought to preserve.

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M. Boyd Patterson, Jr., (Grand Master-2003), receiving the Texas Flag from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.  Grand Master Patterson flew this flag during the Goliad, San Jacinto and the Charter Oak Observances.

The most famous battle of the Texas Revolution came about in San Antonio at a little mission called the Alamo. On March 6, 1836, one hundred and eighty-seven men under the command of Brother William Barrett Travis were defeated by several thousand Mexican soldiers under Santa Anna.  Americans and Texans alike were so enraged by this massacre that the Alamo, like the United States flag and the Statue of Liberty, became another symbol of courage and freedom.  On July 4, 1976, the Grand Lodge of Texas placed a bronze marker at the Alamo, honoring the Masons who died there:

“Honoring These Masons
James Bonham       James Bowie
David Crockett        Almaron Dickenson
William Barrett Travis
And Those Unidentified Masons
Who Gave Their Lives in the
Battle of the Alamo, March 6, 1836”

One of the few who survived the massacre at the Alamo was Mrs. Almaron Dickenson (Suzanna) who had been advised by her husband to display his Masonic apron over herself and the child during and after the battle.  Santa Anna saw to her needs and even offered to adopt her child.  She declined the offer declaring that she would “crawl and work her fingers to the bone to support the baby, but that she would rather see the child starve than given into the hands of the author of so much horror.”

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Bro. Colin Rankin, Past Master,
The Caledonian Railway Lodge 354, A.F.& A.M.
Glasgow, Scotland

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Photos courtesy of Bro. Robert Rankin, PM, webmaster
The Caledonian Railway Lodge 354, A.F.&A.M.
Glasgow, Scotland

March 6, 1836 – After fighting for 13 days, 3,000 Mexicans defeated 182 Texans at the Alamo.

A few days earlier, this message was sent:
February 24, 1836,

“Commandancy of the Alamo-

To the people of Texas & all Americans in the world —
Fellow citizens & compatriots —

I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna–
I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours and 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, and 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 & everything 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 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 Barrett 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 and got into the walls 20 or 30 head Beeves —

Travis