When is a hero no longer a hero?Free Access

As we honor yet another September 11th , you have likely watched or listened to an account of that fateful day when police and fireman sprang into action to rescue those trapped in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and when ordinary citizens were transformed into impromptu 1 st responders, displaying bravery that not only saved countless lives on the ground but whose sacrifice in the air stopped a plane from crashing into the Capitol or the WhiteHouse. On that fall day, there was no shortage of American heroes.

But how long will they retain that status? Will future generations in the interest of not
offending a particular subset of our society determine that they weren’t actually “heroes”, they were just people who were in a particular place at a particular time and did what anyone would have done?

The mere suggestion of such a warped perspective sounds absurd to us here in the generation that witnessed 9/11 occur.

Yet we are also bearing witness to the unthinkable right here in our home state. An advisory group that makes recommendations to the State Board of Education has suggested what even recently would have been considered the unthinkable; that the term “hero” not be used when describing those who fought for Texas Independence at the Alamo. As if that wasn’t preposterous enough, they also suggested removing Col. Travis’ iconic “Victory or Death” letter from the curriculum that is taught to every public school student in Texas!

Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the Battle at the Alamo understands what happened in 1836 in what would become San Antonio. When 260 men held off a professional army of several thousand for 13 days at the cost of all of their lives, and when that delaying tactic allowed Texas leaders to not only form a functional government but raise an army which being outnumbered and outgunned, would shortly thereafter defeat one of the most powerful militaries in the western world at the time; allowing the Republic of Texas to be born…what other word can better describe the deeds that these men carried out better than “Hero”?

This isn’t a racial issue, as men of nearly every race and ethnicity were in the Alamo. Men who were natural born Mexican citizens fought bravely next to Americans who had only recently become Texans. And when given the opportunity to leave the mission or surrender and have their lives spared, they chose to fight so that Texas could be free from the despotic rule of a self-appointed dictator.

Clara Driscoll, the woman who almost singlehandedly saved the Alamo from destruction nearly 100 years after the battle, is quoted as saying;

“Search the histories of the world and you will not find a deed that equals to the men who died within the Alamo that Texas might be free, for Thermopylae had its messenger of defeat, the Alamo had none.”

It’s time to put an end to the re-writing of history. Whether they perished in a mission 182 years ago fighting for Texas freedom, or 17 years ago fighting terrorists who would bring an end to America and all she offers, leave our heroes on the pedestals of honor that their selfless actions earned them. Changing history books to promote a political narrative serves no one and does a great disservice to generations of Texans and Americans yet to be born and hear of the bravery our ancestors put on display in a tiny chapel in San Antonio de Bexar.

Sam Houston rallied his troops to victory at San Jacinto with the phrase “Remember the
Alamo!” It’s high time we all remember those heroes…and the sacrifice they made that future
generations would be free.

Until next time,

Chief Eric Kaiser

Eric Kaiser is the Chief of Police for the Jourdanton (TX) Police Department and a Master Texas Peace Officer.  He serves as a special guest columnist in the Pleasanton Express’ Behind the Badge featured on the Opinion Page. You may contact him at ekaiser@jpd.net.

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