Sunday, May 20, 2007

Remember the Alamo

This morning we awoke to the rain that was following us from Ft. Davis. It was hard times but we were not deterred. Our goal was to tour the Alamo and learn some of the history of that time period.
I must confess that my knowledge of the Alamo comes from the Disney production of "David Crockett - King of the wild frontier." As it turns out, this 1950's story of the Alamo and the fight for Texan independence was pretty accurate - even if a bit romanticized. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas maintain the Alamo to this day. They have well trained tour guides who tell the story of the brave band of 189 soldiers who defended the Alamo in the face of Mexican General and Presidential Dictator, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and his army of several thousand men. From Feb. 23 until the morning of March 6, 1836 the volunteers and regulars held the Alamo until it finally fell. Santa Anna burned the remains of all those who gave their lives at the Alamo and the fragments of their remains were placed near the altar of the then parish church of San Fernando in San Antonio. (See picture below.)

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. "Remember the Alamo" was the battle cry that energized the freedom fighters in their efforts to repel the Mexican Army from Texas and ultimately brought about independence for the Republic of Texas in 1836. Santa Anna surrendered to General Sam Houston after suffering a crushing defeat which lasted only 18 minutes. This defeat marked the end of Mexican hegemony in what is now the US. It also established Texas an an independent nation for the 10 years before it joined the Union and became the 28th State. The Alamo (which, by the way, means "cotton wood tree") is revered by people everywhere, but especially Texans. It is visited by three million people every year.

I can still hear the words of the song: "Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, prettiest state that you ever did see, Killed him a b'ar(sic) when he was only three, Davey, Davey Crockett, King of the Wild frontier" Now what the song didn't teach us was that Davey Crockett, lawyer, politician, sharp shooter, elected representative to the Congress, hunter and frontiersman lost his seat in Congress and subsequently said to his constituency: "You can go to hell, I'm going to Texas." It was in Texas at the Alamo that he made the ultimate sacrifice.


No comments: