Yesterday was the anniversary, as Texans will know, of an event in 1836 known as the Goliad Massacre. On March 27, which happened to be Palm Sunday that year, 357 men, Texans, were prisoners of the Mexicans. You can find a detailed account at the link, but making a long story short the men, under Colonel Fannin, had surrendered and had been promised humane treatment as prisoners by their Mexican captors. The agreement was not kept, and the captive Texans were dealt with treacherously. The Mexicans slaughtered 330 of the 357 Texans.
From one of the survivors, Dillard Cooper, his account of events that morning:
“Our detachment was marched out in double file, each prisoner being guarded by two soldiers, until within about half a mile southwest of the fort, we arrived at a brush fence, built by the Mexicans. We were then placed in single file, and were half way between the guard and the fence, eight feet each way. We were then halted, when the commanding officer came up to the head of the line, and asked if there were any of us who understood Spanish. By this time, there began to dawn upon the minds of us, the truth, that we were to be butchered, and that, I suppose, was the reason that none answered. He then ordered us to turn our backs to the guards. When the order was given not one moved, and then the officer, stepping up to the man at, the head of the column, took him by the shoulders and turned him around.
By this time, despair had seized upon our poor boys, and several of them cried out for mercy. I remember one, a young man, who had been noted for his piety, but who had afterwards become somewhat demoralized by bad company, falling on his knees, crying aloud to God for mercy, and forgiveness. Others, attempted to plead with their inhuman captors, but their pleadings were in vain, for on their faces no gleam of piety was seen for the defenseless men who stood before them. On my right hand, stood Wilson Simpson, and on my left, Robert Fenner. In the midst of the panic of terror which seized our men, and while some of them were rending the air with their cries of agonized despair, Fenner called out to them, saying: “Don’t take on so, boys; if we have to die, let’s die like brave men.”[The above narrative is no longer online; it was originally from a Texas A&M website. Maybe it is too politically incorrect.] – VA
Every Texas schoolchild used to be taught about this event and of course the well-known defense of the Alamo. There was a sense of pride — healthy pride, righteous pride, in our forefathers and their obvious bravery. Are there such men nowadays? I won’t say there aren’t; there must surely be a few, but given our demoralized condition we just don’t see or hear from those who would be the counterparts of the men at the Alamo or at Goliad, who, though they ‘lost’ showed real courage and dignity.
And from the Texan perspective, the terrible bloodshed at Goliad perhaps led to the subsequent victory at the Battle of San Jacinto, where the Texans won decisively, with “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” being the battle cries that day. And ultimately Texas won its independence.
Fast forward to 2020. If our forefathers of that era saw what has become of the Texas they defended, fought and died for — would they do it all again?
The world has changed; we are a demoralized people; interest in the past, and in the history and culture of our folk is waning. Political correctness wants us to feel guilt, if we feel anything at all about our collective history as a people. I’ve asked rhetorically many times: are we our fathers’ children? Are we made of the same ‘stuff’ as those men who ‘died like men’ at Goliad and the Alamo?
Or does it even matter? “Everyone” online, I mean the consensus on the ”right” is that ‘America is dead’ , and what’s more, there is a DNR order; ‘she’ is not to be kept alive. We, some of us the heirs of the old Texas Republic have moved on and we live in this Brave New World/1984 scenario.
But somehow I think it’s vital for a people to maintain a connection with their roots, their heritage, their way of life, and most of all to be connected with our folk. And part of that is to have a history that binds us, a history reminding us of our origins and our forefathers and their deeds. Is it too late for that? Sadly, it may be. But we can surely take time to honor our forefathers in some way by remembering their sacrifices and their courage. Cynicism can only lead to a withering away of all the positive and healthy emotions, without which a folk can’t thrive.