November 4, 2021
Episode 2301: JOE'S ALAMO UNSUNG by Lewis E. Cook
Joe's Alamo Unsung by Lewis E. CookRemember the Alamo! is a slogan known worldwide for courage in battle against overwhelming odds. In that historic stand less than two hundred volunteers fought against five thousand soldiers for thirteen days. According to Joe, the only male survivor, all races and religions fought and died there. Lead by William Travis, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett the Alamo defenders bravely made the ultimate sacrifice while suffering ever darkening days.Joe was severely wounded during the massacre but allowed to live because he spoke Spanish and could translate the terrifying words of the army general who relentlessly attacked the Alamo. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna wanted the Alamo to become symbolic of hopelessness and certain death for anyone that opposed his reign of terror. That did not happen due to efforts of Susana Dickinson and Joe, a slave.This novel is inclusive of all races and religions just as Joe described. Its characters reflect the real personalities of Alamo defenders.It includes recently discovered facts about William Travis, Joe, Susana Dickinson, Davy Crockett and John, who was pitifully listed among the dead only as a black boy.53rd Annual WorldFest 2020 Remi Award WinnerI was a science major, premed (biology and chemistry) at the University of Arkansas. After arriving in Texas and awaiting my bar results I got a job teaching biology, chemistry, eighth grade science and one seventh grade Texas history class. Full disclosure that I knew no Texas history got no sympathy and no class exchanges from the science department chairman who shrugged saying, “Stay a chapter ahead of them.” That didn’t work. One of the seventh grader’s dad taught American History at the University of Houston and this kid knew his stuff. His questions were sharp and he took pride in returning with challenging corrections and insights. I was forced to read the complete Texas, My Texas text book and went to the Alamo over Thanksgiving. Damn if I didn’t find it interesting.So, this account of the Alamo began with my reading a one line quote from Joe, William Travis’ slave - the only male survivor of the Alamo. Joe said, “There were many different races and religions there.” Joe was severely wounded and probably allowed to live only because he spoke Spanish. General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna wanted his massive human slaughters at the Alamo and Goliad to symbolize hopelessness and certain death to all who stood against his mighty army. Instead ‘Remember the Alamo’ has come to symbolize bravery and the resolve of a few to stand firmly against overwhelming odds in battle worldwide.Before the course ended my learned student had one last inquiry. Who first said ‘Remember the Alamo? Was it the Mexican General Santa Anna, Joe Travis, Susanna Dickinson or General Sam Houston? I wondered, too, how those words became so meaningful without any recognition to the slogan’s originator.Joe, Susanna Dickinson, Angelina (her toddler), Emily (The Yellow Rose of Texas), William Travis, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and other whites, blacks, Hispanics, women, teenagers, and foreigners from most religions are due a hefty level of respect for their sacrifices at the Alamo and for Texas. As Troy Duane Smith said, ‘The pursuant of truth, not facts, is the business of fiction.” This fictional account, filled with humor and sarcasm, attempts to recognize them all with that last inquiry firmly in mind. This novel is my well-reasoned and researched answer. — Lewis E.