There's a movement underway to give people a reason to remember the Alamo. Recently the state of Texas took over operation of the Alamo from the non-profit organization that ran it for decades. And money has been allocated for improvements to the building as well as for things that might enhance visitors' experience. Here's an excerpt from Don’t remember the Alamo? Texas wants to change that:
"The Alamo is our top tourist destination, but honestly it's underwhelming," said Alamo Director Becky Bridges Dinnin. "We have not told the whole story. The Alamo defined the heart and soul of the West. It's a snapshot of history."
Dinnin envisions the "new" Alamo employing a range of technologies to tell the story, as well as living historians or characters role-playing the Alamo experience, similar to Colonial Williamsburg -- along with a new center to house an expansive collection on permanent display.
The battle of the Alamo is the most famous skirmish in the war for Texas independence. However, the first one was the battle of Gonzales where the "Come and take it" flag was put to use.
A cannon was loaned by the Mexican government to the folks in Gonzales to help defend against Indians. However, a few years later tensions heated up as Texians began to agitate for independence. The Mexican government wanted the cannon back, but the people of Gonzales refused to return it. "Come and take it," was their response, and a flag was sewn with those words on it along with the image of a cannon. The Texians prevailed and kept the cannon. See Gonzales Come And Take It Cannon.
The cannon was taken to the Alamo to help the defenders there. We all know how that turned out, and so the Mexicans did eventually come and take it.
The reason for this post today is a fear that too many people don't know the story of that flag. Everyone is all worked up about the Confederate flag these days, but the Come and Take It flag seems to cause confusion as well. An editorial about specialty license plates in the Amarillo Globe which was reproduced in our own morning paper, the Midland-Reporter Telegram, contained this assumption:
One that caught our eye after a brief glance at the many available designs was a specialty plate with the phrase “Come and Take It” — a reference we assume is related to the Second Amendment.
Wrong. The little town of Gonzales, and in fact the entire territory which makes up the current state of Texas, was not subject to the U.S. Constitution at the time the flag was used at Gonzales. Do some people use it today as a reference to the Second Amendment? That's possible. But it's probably more generally understood to be a symbol of resistance against increasing government control over our everyday lives. After all, the leftist urge to control seems to be prevailing in at least two of the three branches of the U.S. government. And there may be Texans who feel the need to draw their own red lines against government encroachment of every kind.