Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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March 6th
Remember the Alamo!
Storm winds of tyranny blew across Texas in early 1836. In those days the region was a part of Mexico, where General Santa Anna had seized power and made himself dictator. Texans weren’t willing to submit to his rule, so Santa Anna marched north with an army.

In San Antonio a small band gathered to make their stand at the Alamo, an old Spanish mission turned into a fort. They were tough characters, men who had settled a wild frontier. With them was the famous Davy Crockett from Tennessee.

The Mexican army arrived and demanded the Alamo’s surrender. The Texans answered with a cannon shot. Santa Anna ordered a red flag raised, a signal meaning “We will take no prisoners.”

Colonel William Travis, commander of the Alamo, dispatched messengers bearing appeals for reinforcements. “Our flag still waves proudly from the walls,” he wrote. “I shall never surrender nor retreat . . . Victory or death!”

Only 32 men made their way through the enemy lines to join the Texans at the Alamo. That brought the number of defenders to about 189. The Mexican army, meanwhile, swelled to perhaps 5,000.

Legend says that Travis called his men together, drew a line in the dust with his sword, and announced that those who wanted to stay and fight should step over the line. Every man but one crossed over.

The attack came early the next morning, on March 6, 1836. For a while, the Texans managed to hold the Mexican army back, but soon Santa Anna’s soldiers swarmed over the walls. All of the Alamo’s defenders were killed.

The Texans weren’t finished. On April 21, troops commanded by Sam Houston attacked and broke Santa Anna’s army. “Remember the Alamo!” was their battle cry – a cry that still reminds Americans of unyielding courage and sacrifice for freedom.

American History Parade
1836
A Mexican army overwhelms the defenders of the Alamo.

1857
The Supreme Court rules in its infamous Dred Scott decision that blacks are not citizens and that Congress cannot prohibit slavery in U.S. territories.

1896
Charles King tests his “horseless carriage” in Detroit, becoming the first person to drive a car in Motor City.

1930
Clarence Birdseye begins to sell prepackaged frozen food in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1951
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg go on trial for spying for the Soviet Union during World War II.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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