A few facts about three Texas heroes:
William Barrett Travis was a womanizer who recorded his exploits in his diary. And his letters from the Alamo are among the most noble missives ever written in the cause of freedom.
Jim Bowie was a slave smuggler and a guy you wouldn't want to meet in a parking garage. He was also a fluent writer and speaker of both Spanish and French. He never used profanity.
Sam Houston was frequently and publicly drunk from 1829 to 1840. He had a rifle ball wound in his shoulder from the Creek War which never healed. It had to be dressed daily for fifty years. He taught himself Greek and Latin in order to read the classics, which he loved.
Much more interesting than the marble statue treatment they usually get, right? Now they are human.
Glowing biographies aggravate me. I feel like I'm being lied to by omission.
Every blessed one of us has flaws. We have all done foolish, intemperate, and downright stupid things in our lives. We all have private pains and weaknesses. None of us does the right thing on every occasion.
Historical figures are no different. They are as human as you and me, only confined to the past. Unfortunately, they have been over polished for generations.
Do you think that maybe part of the reason young people seldom show an interest in history is because we present them with one dimensional characters? Kids are thrust into Texas History class right at the age when they become aware of flaws in their parents and adults in general.
For young people to see history as relevant they need to see the players as real people. People are more interesting when you can see their scars as well as their accomplishments.
A heroic deed performed by a scoundrel is still a heroic deed and heroes with feet of clay are still heroes.