By Esther GarciaMarch 11, 2010
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The Daughters of the Republic of Texas held their memorial ceremony March 6 honoring the men who died defending the Alamo.
The battle was a 13-day siege that began Feb. 23 and ended March 6, 1836.
One hundred eighty-nine men from 23 states and seven countries that included England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Germany and Mexico brought Jim Bowie, William Travis and the legendary David Crockett to the Alamo to defend her against the Mexican Army led by Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
All were killed which cut the hearts of the Texans at San Jacinto April 26, where their battle cry, "Remember the Alamo" helped them capture Santa Anna and win independence for Texas.
During the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Guy Swan, commanding general, Army North and keynote speaker said, "On that day in 1836, a significant part of history was written. This is one of the most unique days and one that has a profound impact on the heritage of our nation."
Swan said while some may forget the actual day or year the battle occurred, no one will ever forget those immortal words "Remember the Alamo," adding that the men who died 174 years ago made the ultimate sacrifice for an ideal they believed in.
"The diversity and dedication of this small group of relatively 'common' men, remind me very much of our Army - our armed forces today," he said.
Swan read the final letter written by Travis pleading for reinforcements aloud, and said Travis knew what lay ahead.
When his desperate petition for help went unanswered, he and his troops would never the less stand and fight until the end Swan said.
They never did surrender.
"That resolve is still the hallmark of fighting men and women today. It is an unwavering sense of duty and honor that, at times seems to defy reason.
"Our history is replete with examples of this phenomenon, such as the 20th Maine in the battle of Big Round Top at Gettysburg; Corregidor during WWII; the Defense of the Pusan Perimeter during the Korean War, and of course, the battle of the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam," Swan said.
"For those on the front lines, the Alamo continues to be a source of strength, a symbol of selfless sacrifice.
"I am not from Texas," Swan continued, "but the story of the Alamo has touched me and all those who call themselves Americans. I thank you for preserving this part of our rich history.
"Whenever free men draw a line in the sand and make a stand for freedom and liberty, they will always 'Remember the Alamo.'"
The ceremony included "Ballad of the Alamo," a musical representation in song of the battle.
L. Vaughn Oliver, president general, Sons of the Republic of Texas, rang the Alamo Bell. The Alamo Rangers presented the colors and the invocation was delivered by Fr. Nicholas Baxter, associate pastor, Mission San Jose.
"Call Out Their Names Again," a poem of that last day, summoned images of the final hours of Bowie, Travis, Bonham and Crockett in the minds of the audience. Children of the Daughters of the Republic then solemnly lit candles as a tribute to the defenders.
Patti Atkins, president general, DRT, read the roll call of the states and countries of the known heroes who defended the Alamo.
As she read, each one of 30 military personnel representing the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, presented the flags of those states and countries to the audience.
Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Madison, Army Medical Command Band, sounded taps. As the bugle notes reverberated from the walls of the Alamo, the colors were retired concluding the ceremony.