Friday, February 24th, 2012

Writing Prompt – Remember the Alamo!

The Alamo - Photo by Open ContentOn February 24, 1836, Colonel William Travis issued a call for help on behalf of Texas troops defending the Alamo.

The Alamo — a fortress, the site of an old Spanish mission, and one of two ‘gateways’ into Texas from Mexico — was under attack by the Mexican army.

A bit of history:

Travis moved from Alabama to Texas in 1831 and became a leader of the movement to overthrow the Mexican government. When the official revolution began in 1835, he was given command of a small troop of soldiers in the recently captured city, San Antonio de Bexar.

On February 23, 1836, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana arrived in San Antonio — weeks earlier than anticipated — accompanied by a large contingent of the Mexican Army, and called for Travis’ surrender.

Travis and his troops, heavily outnumbered, holed up in the Alamo along with a volunteer militia led by Colonel James Bowie.

On the 24th, they answered Santa Ana’s demand with a cannon shot from the Alamo. Furious, Santa Ana ordered his men to take the Alamo. Travis sent out several messages via courier asking for help. He signed them with the now famous tagline, “Liberty or death.”

Travis’ pleas were largely ignored: only 32 men from a nearby town came to his aid. Still, the men of the Alamo put up a grand fight.

They held the fort until March 6, when Santa Ana’s troops broke through the outer wall. Travis, Bowie and 190 ‘rebel’ soldiers were killed — most by execution, once Santa Ana claimed the fort. (Though during the siege, the Texas rebels killed at least 600 of Santa Ana’s nearly 5,000 men.)

The loss of the brave men at the Alamo turned the tide in favor of the Texas Revolution, and soldiers were heard to cry, “Remember the Alamo!” as they entered into the fray with the Mexican army. Santa Ana was soon captured by the Texas Army and on May 14, 1836, Texas officially became an independent republic.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write a ‘what if’ essay: What if you had the power to stop a war. Would you do it? Would you have stopped a past war in history, knowing that it would mean your life would be very different today?
  • Choose a legendary historical war and imagine “the other side” won. Re-write history.
  • Write a war poem. Use onamonapia to convey the feeling and action of the war.

  • Write an essay, a poem, a short story, a vignette etc.:
    1. glorifying war
    2. condemning war
    3. using war as a metaphor for something else, or
    4. using something else as a metaphor for war.