We arrived at the San Jacinto battle reenactment just after it started and as we were wending our way through the crowds we listened to the narrator. It was difficult to hear at first but just as we made it to a good viewing spot a line of men marched by and the crowd began to cheer and call out encouragement for those men heading to defend the Alamo. I was surprised when my eyes filled with tears. I knew this was simply a play but somehow it was very real all of a sudden and these were real men who had had families and children and loved ones.
Maybe it's the 'Hollywood' effect. Watching movies like The Alamo where names from history take on color and become real people with personalities.
I've always had a hard time with battle and soldier movies. Their dedication to the cause and their willingness to lay down their lives for what they believe in, as well as their obedience to authority, completely breaks my heart. I think this is partly because I am, by nature, a selfish person. I don't know whether I would be able to march into battle knowing full well I could be walking toward my death.
As the Texans lined up to march on the Mexican camp the narrator reminded us that Sam Houston had encouraged his men to rest up while he restlessly patrolled and planned. On the other hand the Mexican general had kept his men busy all night building defenses so that by morning they had all collapsed from exhaustion and there was no one at all defending the camp.
I felt such sadness at the thought of all the young men who, due to poor leadership, had died. Yes, we gained our Texan independence and we can rejoice in that but I can never, ever feel glad about those lives that were lost. I turned to a lady sitting next to me and remarked how sad I was. I was near to tears and she said she was surprised herself at the emotion that she was feeling.
Just then a man was carried away from the battle and laid gently on the ground by his comrades while the narrator told how he had played a big part in the victory but he died there on the battlefield. As the narrator told this part of the story, he broke up and had a hard time finishing his sentences. I, too was a complete mess by this time.
It made me so grateful for those who defend us and protect our freedoms. No matter what or how you feel about war you cannot fault those who serve. This is not a political statement of any sort aside from the fact that I think that we all need to remember that in every struggle there are real humans on each side. I feel much more challenged to pray for those who serve in the Armed Forces. They are doing a job and their lives are in the hands of our leaders.