Updated: May 5, 2022
Near the present-day city of San Antonio, Texas, in the Spring of 1836, history records a powerful struggle. A struggle of ideas – a clash of aspirations. A battle that is, and should well be, remembered always throughout Texas history as that of an outnumbered group of brave and dedicated volunteers giving themselves completely to a cause they believed in. Fighting in service to others – to a greater good that became an independent and free Republic of Texas. These men made a stand for the freedom and independence they so strongly desired. They knew their struggle would entangle the opposing forces, allowing their own allied forces nearby the time they needed to prepare for the battle that would be ultimately decisive. So, for 13 days this rag-tag group of freedom fighters held out and gave it all. Ultimately, they all died under the oppressive force of Santa Ana, but their valiant effort had inflicted its mortal wound on their oppressor. Only days after this battle, a strengthened and reinforced Sam Houston and his men defeated the enemy under the Texas flag with the cry of “Remember the Alamo!”
Today, this cry elicits a prideful memory of what it means to be ‘all-in’ for the values we believe in. Of what service to others and to a greater good can actually look like. In his final days, the commander of the garrison, William B. Travis hastily wrote letters to Texas and to the United States asking for more reinforcements, but they had treaties with Mexico. Sending more men officially would have been interpreted as an act of war in violation of the treaties, and therefore, none were sent. As we well know, Travis and his men held off two assaults by the overwhelming forces of Santa Ana, but were unable to withstand the third. In the cool morning hours of March 6, 1836, All 200-plus Texians were slaughtered. My question to Texas today is this: if we had the chance to go back in time, to unwind the clock and go back to that Spring morning in 1836 with the technology we have today and change the balance of power in that struggle, would we? Would we come to the defense of Freedom and Justice? Or, would we stand by in apathetic lethargy and watch as the historic outcome that we all know so well unfolded? Would we step in and say “No more!” “Not on our watch!”? I wish to believe we would see the injustice of the oppression and the overwhelming use of force and that we would take a stand for what’s right. I want to believe that we would not hide behind some political slogan or writings on a piece of paper, nor wring our hands in despair as good men are cut down. I want to believe that we would be men of action and put an end to oppression and tyranny, and to forcibly show the world that justice must prevail – and then to make it so. We have that chance today. As we sit here in our comfortable suburban homes enjoying the freedom that only the United States of America can provide, with a fully stocked grocery store nearby, a comfortable bed to sleep in, dry feet and central heating and AC, surrounded by our wives and kids, and grandkids - a modern-day Alamo is unfolding. Right before our very eyes, we watch the exact same struggle play itself out without recognizing it as such. Today, as I write this, a group of incredibly brave men is holed up in the Azovstal Steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine. The struggle at hand is precisely the same as that of Davey Crockett, Jim Bowie, William B. Travis, and the other 200 or so men in 1836. These men want freedom. They want their wives and kids, most of whom have fled the country, to be able to come home to a free Ukraine. "Even if they can't come home to me" they say "at least they can be free!" They are all-in on this idea and they are giving their lives for it – while the world watches. This group of men fights under a red and black flag, a historic Ukrainian flag called the “Pravyi Sektor” (the ‘Right Sector’). It stands for the rich blackness of Ukraine's soil and the blood that has bled for it. Putin’s propaganda machine has labeled them ‘Neo-Nazis’ and ‘fascists’.
This mischaracterization has found its way even into Wikipedia and elsewhere in our own media. In just the past 6 weeks, I have met many of the men who fight under this historic flag and have talked with them extensively. They are just like us and they want what we have - freedom. They are modern-day heroes like Travis, Bowie, and Crockett, and they will bleed their lives out for the freedom they desire for their kids and for their country. The oppressive forces label them as ‘Nazi’ and ‘fascist’ only because they refuse to be subjugated to a foreign power. Because they insist on having the freedom of self-determination. The Azovstal Steel Mill is a modern-day Alamo where the ideals that form the very fabric of American freedom are under assault. Can that be rightly called ‘Fascist’ or ‘Nazi’? I think not. Shame on Wikipedia and any others who do so. We have a chance today symbolically to go back in history and change the balance of power in such a struggle. We can offer our support to justice, itself, in a meaningful way. To show the world that we still stand for the ideals of freedom, independence, and self-determination. As the Azovstal Steel Mill is incessantly rocked 24/7 with conventional ordinance, this must be our red line. As May 9 approaches, an important WWII ‘Victory Day’ holiday for Russia, the temptation to use WMD on this facility will increase. To be able to claim ‘victory’ over this stubborn group of ‘fascist Nazi’s’ will be at the forefront of Russia’s mind. This insanity must be stopped, and we have the capability to do so. Will we? What will YOU do? These men are holding out to the last man, and like our Texian volunteers, they are ready to give it all. They are all-in for the ideals that we hold dear and that we promote so readily around the globe. As the clock ticks, will we stand by and watch or will we come to their aid?