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Uss Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Today is the 75th anniversary of the surprise raid at Pearl Harbor.

We were attacked because another country’s leaders were convinced that if they hit us hard enough first that we would either not have the ability or not have the will to respond.

After so much time it’s easy to forget, but it’s too important a lesson – and one that was too expensive to learn. May we always remember, and may we never lead another country to that same wrong conclusion.

Listen to the full audio of President Roosevelt’s speech:

 

The AlamoOn the morning of March 6, 1836  General Antonio López de Santa Anna‘s overwhelming Mexican army force of around 2000 attacked the 200 or so Texians holding the Alamo. None of the Texians survived – including Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and William B. Travis.

It was a pyrrhic victory for Santa Anna, though. Not only did he lose a reported 600 of his 2,000 soldiers in the battle, he fired up the resolve of the Texas settlers, causing volunteers to flock to the Texan army.

Less than two months later Sam Houston would command the forces at the Battle of San Jacinto that would decimate the Mexican army and lead to the capture Santa Anna.

Prominent among the battle cries at the Battle of San Jacinto was “Remember the Alamo!”.

Two weeks earlier, Lt. Colonel William B. Travis at just 26 years old, had written asking for reinforcements. The letter said:

Bejar, Feby. 24th. 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World-

Fellow Citizens & compatriots-

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna – I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man – The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken – I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls – I shall never surrender or retreat.

Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch – The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days.  If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country – 

Victory or Death.

William Barret Travis.

Lt. Col.comdt.

P. S.  The Lord is on our side – When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn – We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.

Travis

Travis Letter

 

For an extra special experience, listen to this 1968 recording of Willie Nelson reading the Travis letter.

 

 

Victory is Seldom Predictable

And success rarely comes in a straight line.  Even after their losses the Mexican army outnumbered the Texian forces by almost six to one. Santa Ana assumed those numbers and the defeat at the Alamo would quash the rebellion. We now know it had the opposite effect. But at the time things had to look very bleak.

The Texians had no guarantee of victory, but if they’d given up then they’d have had a guarantee of failure. Thank God they didn’t give up.

The next time things seem bleak and you’ve been beaten down and the odds seem impossibly stacked against you – Remember the Alamo!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

These words, immortalized on a document signed by 56 men 238 years ago, and backed up by the selfless sacrifices of thousands of militiamen and citizens, changed history in ways no one could have expected.

We’ll close the office at 1pm tomorrow and be off on Friday in order to take some time to remember their impact.

Enjoy your Independence Day!

Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull

The Flag Raising at Ground Zero

Today we remember our citizens killed on September 11:

2,606 in the World Trade Centers
87 on American flight 11
60 on United flight 175
125 in the Pentagon
59 on American flight 77
40 on United flight 93
4 in the Benghazi Embassy (2012)

Unfortunately last year the death toll caused by terrorists, and which was already far too large, increased. We remember them as well.

It is our honor and privilege as insurance professionals to help people recover and rebuild after losses. Some losses, though, can not be recovered. For those we take a moment today to remember.

The AlamoOn the morning of March 6, 1836  General Antonio López de Santa Anna‘s overwhelming Mexican army force of around 2000 attacked the 200 or so Texians holding the Alamo. None of the Texians survived.

It was a pyrrhic victory for Santa Anna, though. Not only did he lose a reported 600 of his 2,000 soldiers in the battle, he fired up the resolve of the Texas settlers, causing volunteers to flock to the Texan army.

Only two months later Sam Houston would command the forces at the Battle of San Jacinto that would decimate the Mexican army and lead to the capture Santa Anna.

Prominent among the battle cries at the Battle of San Jacinto was “Remember the Alamo!”.

Two weeks earlier, Lt. Colonel William B. Travis at just 26 years old, had written asking for reinforcements. The letter said:

Bejar, Feby. 24th. 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World-

Fellow Citizens & compatriots-

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna – I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man – The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken – I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls – I shall never surrender or retreat.

Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch – The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days.  If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country –

Victory or Death.

William Barret Travis.

Lt. Col.comdt.

P. S.  The Lord is on our side – When the enemy appeared in sight we had not three bushels of corn – We have since found in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels and got into the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.

Travis

Travis Letter

For the first time in the 177 years since it was written, this letter has returned to the Alamo where it will be on display in a special exhibit until March 7.

For an extra special experience, listen to this 1968 recording of Willie Nelson reading the Travis letter.

 

Gonzales Flag

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Susan E Adams

The Texas Revolution began this day in 1835 when the Mexican army tried (and failed) to take the cannon from the people of Gonzales.

Today the Gonzales flag still stands as an emblem of freedom and liberty.

May the people of Texas always stand up for each other.

While serving as an at-large alternate delegate to the Republican National Convention in Tampa during his vacation last month, our very own James Dickey was interviewed by several reporters. We happened to catch this one on video. The quality of the video’s not stellar, but we thought you might enjoy seeing it anyway.

Generous donations from state Senator Dan Patrick provided the shirts and Texas Memory Systems provided the hats to all members of the delegation. The next time you see James he just might still be wearing his.

The Pentagon on September 12, 2001The passage of time dulls the senses, so it’s almost impossible to truly recall the shock and horror of that day and the unified sense of purpose of the time immediately following the worst attack on U.S. soil in our country’s history.

The attack was carried out via four jetliners hijacked by 19 members of al-Qaeda. One was crashed into the Pentagon. Brave passengers prevented another Washington D.C. target from being hit by overpowering the hijackers on their plane over Pennsylvania. Two were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.

View of Statue of Liberty with Twin Towers BurningTwo thousand, nine hundred and seventy-seven (2,977) people from 70 countries became innocent victims that day, including every passenger and crew member on all four airliners. Many of us personally knew at least one of the victims.

The impact on our country – from airports to border crossings – has been widespread and enduring. Whole new federal agencies have been created and law enforcement powers have been expanded.

Most critical, though, is that we – each American citizen – remember. Remember what we’ve suffered, but also what we’ve overcome. Through the diligence and hard work of the American people the United Ground Zero Photo Taken September 13, 2001States has recovered, and then some. Our economy and our country are strong and will grow stronger, because of our people, as long as we are diligent and continue to have confidence in each other and our way of life.

The best revenge we can have now is to do just that – live out the American dream, and let our success speak for itself.

Flag Day is celebrated each June 14, commemorating the resolution passed by Congress on June 14 “that the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Since then every generation of Americans has celebrated “Old Glory”.

“Old Glory” was the name that Captain William Driver placed on a flag he was presented in 1831, and that nickname became so well known that the Confederate forces made it a major goal to capture that specific flag. Captain Driver, wanting to prevent the capture of Old Glory, had it sewn into his bedcover to keep it hidden and protected when not in use. In 1862, when Confederate forces captured Nashville, he took Old Glory from its hiding place and flew it over the Tennessee capitol to prove that the Union still stood firm.

We have honored Old Glory on Flag Day each day since 1885 when a Wisconsin schoolmaster’s idea for his students to remember the flag’s birthday inspired others around the nation. In 1916 Woodrow Wilson issued the proclamation that made Flag Day an official national event.

We hope that while you enjoy this Flag Day, and many more, that you fly “Old Glory” proudly. We’re proud to be able to – and to work with great people like you.

A special bonus from The Man in Black:

The Flag Raising at Ground Zero

  • 2,606 in the World Trade Centers
  • 87 on American flight 11
  • 60 on United flight 175
  • 125 in the Pentagon
  • 59 on American flight 77
  • 40 on United flight 93

On this, the 10th anniversary of that day, we will see a lot of images of the first attack of this kind on our own soil. Understanding 9/11 is a collection of live television video from that day that brings back some of the sense of shock and disbelief we all shared.

Despite all that we suffered that day, though, we still stand strong. In the midst of the rubble, before the smoke even died down, everyday people found ways to show that we would not be beaten, we would not surrender.

Please take a moment today to remember and pray for the fallen victims and heroes from that day and the loved ones they left behind.

 

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