Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Honoring past sacrifice gives value to area
March 27 is a tragic day in Texas' history. On this day, 177 years ago, James W. Fannin and the men under his command at the Presidio La Bahia, who believed they were to be treated as prisoners of war, were executed by the forces of Gen. Jose de Urrea under orders from Mexican president and general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
According to the Texas State Historical Association, 342 men died that day in what became known as the Goliad Massacre. On that Palm Sunday, 28 escaped the firing squads, and 20 were spared because of the pleas of Francita Alavez, the "Angel of Goliad," who also hid several men the night before the massacre.
On Saturday and Sunday, volunteer re-enactors dramatized the events leading up to the Goliad Massacre for thousands to see and remember. Cannons, muskets, sabres and flintlock pistols flashed in the sun as Texans witnessed the 28th annual Goliad Massacre Living History program from a few skirmishes to the Battle of Coleto on Saturday and came back Sunday morning to witness the death march to the site of the massacre, where re-enactors played out the horrific events of 177 years ago. This is something much more valuable and real than any Hollywood movie or set. This is an opportunity to see history play out on the ground where it originally happened.
We have a unique privilege as residents of the Crossroads. We are right in the middle of the areas where Texans fought for their independence, and we are proud to see that heritage honored every year. The men of the Goliad Massacre made the ultimate sacrifice, which became a rallying cry for the Texans. Santa Anna's insistence on crushing rebellion by executing all prisoners earned him a reputation as a cruel, evil tyrant. At the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, the defenders chose to fight to the last rather than suffer the same fate as the men of Goliad. Both incidents became rallying cries for the Texans under Gen. Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto.
We are honored to walk the same soil as these men who gave their all to gain Texas' freedom. It makes us glad to see their sacrifice honored every year, and we encourage Crossroads residents and anyone else to attend this and other yearly observances of the moments that brought Texas into being. By honoring where we came from, we can better appreciate who we are today.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.