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On Bravery: The Alamo

 

I watched the classic John Wayne film The Alamo earlier.  There’s something noble and edifying about John Wayne movies.  In the scene above, one of the soldier’s wives insists that her husband stays and fights, even though his death will be harder for her to bear than most women–she is blind.  And he stays.

Later in the movie, word arrives that Colonel James Fannin will not be arriving with re-inforcements.  Their situation is therefore dire.  Colonel Travis assembles the men, most of whom are volunteers, Tennesseans under the leadership of Davy Crockett, and a troop under the command of Colonel Jim Bowie, who had had disagreements with Travis in the past.  Both Bowie and Crockett were preparing to leave.  Travis informs the assembly that he will be staying with his command, but that any man who wishes may leave.  He thanks them for their service thus far, and for having bought General Houston 10 days of precious time.  There is an element of melodrama to the movie, and it’s probably not definitively knowable exactly what happened that day, and whether a line in the sand was actually drawn.  But we do know this: almost everyone stayed.

As I watched the troops and Bowie and Crockett get down off their horses, effectively saying that they were, indeed, staying, I wonder what drives men to make such decisions.  Would I have done the same?  Would the thought, years later, of having left others behind to die been enough to convince me to stay?  But as they all climbed back up onto the ramparts, and as the gates of the fortress were once again closed, it seemed to be higher and nobler than any alternative.  It is hard to summarize all of right and wrong, but God speaks to us sometimes without words, and perhaps the sense that it seems to be the thing to do–is enough.

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