I want to present to you this documentary about the conquistador Menendez and his struggles in Florida during the late 1500s.  Western Civilization rose to its pinnacle of power in recent centuries because of men like this.  Menendez was a man who had all the odds against him and yet he found victory.  I recorded this video sometime around 2005.

Painting, "Dawn at the Alamo," by Henry Arthur McArdle, hanging in the Senate Chamber of the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas LCCN2014632109.tif

In the 1500s, Spain had claimed Florida as a colony already.  Cabeza de Vaca and Hernando de Soto had already explored the area.  However, the French decided to move in and challenge that claim.  Menendez was sent to settle the matter militarily.  Before Menendez could even make contact with the French, he lost half his fleet in a storm.  He then engaged some of the French ships and sent them running home.  Unfortunately, a hurricane hit Florida and Menendez was beached somewhere close to St. Augustine.  With only 500 troops left, Menendez engaged the French on land and was ultimately victorious.

I like to remember this story because it reminds me of how great Western Civilization was until very recently.  I remember great people in history, although, granted, those people are not held in high regard because of some flaws in their character.  Nonetheless, if you overlook their human weakness, you will see the solid values that our ancestors once had.  Cowardice was completely unacceptable.

  • Julius Caesar, conquered all of what is now known as France.  He showed incredible brains and bravery; although, it can be argued that he used too much force and could be considered a war criminal.
  • Hernan Cortez, before conquering Mexico, he burned his ships so that retreat could not be an option.
  • Hernando de Soto, he explored the USA from southern Florida, up the Appalachian Mountains to Virginia, then back across Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana.  Not bad for a guy with only a couple of hundred men.
  • Captain Bligh, known for mutiny on the Bounty.  Say what you will about this guy, but I have read his book about the famous voyage.  He was the typical man of his time and age:  sought adventure to gain honor, hated cowardice, cool headed, and rational.  This man saved his crew by sailing in a rowboat from near Tahiti to Timor, close to Australia.   Bligh had no charts and had to sail from memory.  He was saved by his courage and brains.
  • General Custer, not a well liked guy.  Yet, he had a brilliant military record.  Say what you may, Custer was acting under military orders at Little Bighorn, we all know about his brave “last stand”.  Back in those days, armies resisted retreat because it was well known that you just wind up getting it in the back.
  • Colonel Travis, he is known for the battle at the Alamo.  I have come to the conclusion that he was a fool.  There was no way 200 Alamo defenders were going to beat 2000 Mexican soldiers.  He would have been perfectly within his right to evaluate the situation and save himself.  Yet, what a glorious fool.  In his letters, he talks so much about honor, duty to country, and his legacy as being a man that would not retreat from danger.  That is the kind of people we were back then.
  • 9/11 Responders, known for the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11, 2001, NYC.  I get chills when I think about police, firemen, and medical personnel running up stairs to save people.  These towers were under a terrorist attack, and yet, these men did not hesitate.  We were a people of this kind of toughness.  I have not seen levels of such bravery since.

These days, I talk to folks I know who tell me that many employees at work refuse to return to the office because they are afraid of COVID-19.  I look at what the people of Western Civilization used to be, and now look at what our leaders have become, and I actually get sick.  Our forefathers never would have run for the bunker in times of trouble.  So many of our ancestors would have rather gone to their deaths then show signs of fear.

How did things ever get this way?  I hope we can return to our former glory.  Please enjoy the video.

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