The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980 Page: 280
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The Texas Sesquicentennial
From time to time over the past two years the Quarterly cover has
featured a portrait of a man or of a scene related to the Texas Revolu-
tion. The main purpose has been to stir up in the Association's mem-
bership a strong consciousness of the forthcoming sesquicentennial by
reproducing paintings of Texans and of episodes closely linked to the
most important event in Texas history.
In a world that produces colorless and uninspired leadership and that
seems to delight in debunking heroes and heroic deeds, we desperately
need reminders from the past that illustrate how, at a time of grave
crisis, a small, pioneer Texas society provided men of great courage and
stamina who overcame enormous odds to form and nurture a new na-
tion. Probably in the present world crisis none of us conjure up images
of a Travis-like figure in the embassy in Teheran dispatching a message:
To the People of Texas and all Americans in the world .... I am besieged
by [thousands of Iranians under the Ayatollah Khomeini]. I have sustained
a continual Bombardment [of verbal abuse] for [6o days and may have lost 7
men]. The enemy has demanded a [spy trial] at discretion, otherwise, [I
know not what is to happen to the embassy]. I have answered the demand
with [silence], and our flag [has disgracefully been burned]. I shall never
surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patrio-
tism &S everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid with
all dispatch. The enemy is [harrassing us] daily & will no doubt [continue to
do so]. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as
possible gc die like a soldier who never forgets what is due his own honor &
that of his country, VICTORY or DEATH.
Such an appeal would electrify the world. It would make our leaders
resolute in maintaining the dignity of our nation and the freedom of
Americans everywhere. But today our society is anesthetized.
Yes, the Alamo, Goliad, the Battle at San Jacinto-The Texas Revo-
lution-have meaning, but that meaning transcends the geographical
boundary of Texas. If put into its proper historical context, its meaning
is a demonstration of individual and collective resoluteness and cour-
age, of the striving in man's soul to throw off abusive governments,
and of man's desire to captain his own destiny.
In the concluding paragraph of his essay in this issue, Terry G. Jordan
has the Old Testament prophet say, "woe unto a people who so thought-
lessly discard the customs and practices of countless generations of an-
cestors." And so may the same be said of a people who do not know their
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 83, July 1979 - April, 1980, periodical, 1979/1980; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101207/m1/324/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.