Texas Education Board considers removing the word 'heroic' from description of Alamo defenders

"Don't mess with Texas" and if you do, be prepared for war.

A panel advising the Texas State Board of Education is recommending the removal of the word "heroic" from a description of the defenders of the Alamo because "heroic" is a "value-charged word." 

Politicians and ordinary Texans exploded in anger at the proposed change, with Governor Greg Abbott leading the way.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush, whose office oversees the Alamo historical site, also voiced his opposition.

The proposed change is just one of several dozen alterations recommended by the panel in order to "streamline" instruction.

I think the panel just got steamrolled.

Dallas Morning News:

The recommendation, made in a report issued last month, was one of several hundred tweaks, additions and deletions offered up by the advisory group reviewing state curriculum standards for social studies. The panel said "heroic" was a "value-charged word." 

But Barbara Stevens, president general of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, said the word is critical to giving Texas history its proper context.

"Words like 'heroic' to describe such men are indeed 'value charged,' and it is because anything less would be a disservice to their memories," Stevens said. "To minimize the study of the Republic of Texas is to fail to teach a pivotal portion of the state's history."

Current seventh-grade social studies curriculum standards include the "siege of the Alamo and all of the heroic defenders who gave their lives there." The advisory committee recommended cutting the phrase "and all of the heroic defenders who gave their lives there."

Is "heroic" an accurate description of the Alamo defenders and is it, indeed, a "value charged word"?

Well, yes and yes. It all depends what you think those men gave their lives for? The revisionist liberal take is that Anglos were stealing land from peasants and were surriptitiously plotting with the US government to add Texas as a state. Nothing very much "heroic" about that, right?

It should be noted that the John Wayne movie version of what happened at the Alamo was equally idiotic. Even the 2003 film version of events contained more drama than necessary, although it was closer to reality.

That reality was that a brutal, bloodthirsty Mexican dictator named Santa Ana was leading an army of at least 5,000 men across Texas to San Antonio in an attempt to pacify a rebellious province. He wasn't being very nice about it. Homesteads were burned and residents were executed summarily.

The town of San Antonio had been wrested from the Mexican army a few months previously and Santa Ana wanted to teach the rebels a lesson. The 200 or so defenders of San Antonio were completely unaware of Santa Ana's approach. They took refuge in the Alamo where the commander decided to try and hold it.

What made the defenders heroic was that they had the opportunity to abandon the Alamo prior to Santa Ana arriving with most of his force. They didn't. They stood and fought for Texas independence - not to make Texas a state of the union. Many Mexicans fought with the Anglos, seeing Texas independence from an oppressive dictator as their fight as well.

Of course, "heroic" is a values charged word. And the values being fought for at the Alamo were the universal values of freedom and liberty. Those values don't belong to one race or one country. But they were defended "heroically" by the men at the Alamo.

I would suggest that panel advising the state school board carefully reconsider changing the curriculum to remove a vital bit of information that gives substance and context to the deaths of more than 200 men.






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