It's hard to say whether or not you would count Alamo Day as a holiday in Texas -- after all, it's a commemoration of a defeat and massacre. However, for 169 years, it has been remembered -- in battle cry, in song and story, on the silver screen and boob tube, and in the hearts of millions of Texans. I particularly like the way the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, who are the caretakers of the Alamo, phrase it:
While the facts surrounding the siege of the Alamo continue to be debated, there is no doubt about what the battle has come to symbolize. People worldwide continue to remember the Alamo as a heroic struggle against overwhelming odds — a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty.
As an aside, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas's Alamo website is one of the best resources out there for discussions of the battle itself, refuting common myths and misconceptions, and learning more about the Texas Revolution.
In a related story, the Dallas Morning News leads off this Sunday morning with the story of how the last remaining known battle flag flown by the Texans at the Battle of the Alamo has reappeared in the Museum of Natural History at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. Over the past decades, many attempts have been made to get the flag returned, everything from offering exchanges of other flags that we Texans have to Santa Anna's cork leg to attempts to make NAFTA acceptance conditional on it (yep, we have a fair amount of clout as a state). As the story points out, though, this flag has immense symbolic value to the Mexicans -- to Santa Anna, it was proof of the United States's meddling in Mexican affairs; to many Mexicans today, it is one of the few trophies they have of what they consider a massive land grab by their neighbor to the north; and finally, by right of war, they won the battle.
As a bred Texan and citizen of the Republic, I remember well that the Texas Revolution was not Anglo versus Mexican, but Anglo and Tejano citizens -- Texans -- who were rebelling against a dictator who had taken away their political rights and freedoms. As a symbol of that unity, and as a gesture of friendship, I propose that we relinquish our demand for the Alamo battle flag, asking only that it remain on display in the Museum as a reminder of the desire of both peoples, Texans and Mexicans for liberty and freedom.
I like to think Colonel Travis, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett would approve.