Remember the Alamo
Signifying the Lone Star State
By: Charles Giuliano - May 18, 2010
For those of us who were teens during the early days of TV Davy Crockett is best remembered as Fess Parker who portrayed him. In the 1950s during the Sunday evening broadcasts presented by Walt Disneythe three part adventure was a pioneer of the mini series. Lots of us wore the coonskin hats that signified that frontier hero.
Davy Crockett and frontiersman Jim Bowie, creator of the Bowie knife, were among the some 200 defenders who lost their life defending the Alamo a Spanish mission turned fort.
On February 23, 1836, the arrival of General Antonio López de Santa Anna's army outside San Antonio nearly caught the defenders by surprise. Undaunted, the Texians and Tejanos prepared to defend the Alamo. The defenders held out for 13 days against Santa Anna's army. William B. Travis, the commander of the Alamo sent couriers carrying pleas for help. On the eighth day of the siege, a band of 32 volunteers from Gonzales arrived, bringing the number of defenders to nearly two hundred.
While the Alamo was defeated with the loss of every last man it bought time for General Sam Houston to organize a counter attack. Legend has it that the battle lasted just 18 minutes and resulted in the defeat of Santa Anna. It resulted in the creation of the Lone Star State which opted to join the Union in 1845. Houston was the state’s first Senator. Although a slave owner and anti abolitionist he later refused to support the Confederacy.
It has taken several days to drive through Texas. We have come to appreciate first hand its immensity. The rich and diverse Mexican heritage is ubiquitous.
For all of its daunting symbolism visiting the Alamo proved to be ephemeral. The Alamo, one of the true icons and signifiers of American history, is a small, architecturally undistinguished structure. It is bare and raw inside. Little has been done to alter its original appearance. That’s a good thing as it hasn’t been scrubbed of its history.
After a relatively brief time touring the monument visitors are funneled into an adjacent building which promotes an “archeological exhibition” including a diorama and some weapons. Mostly it is just a mega gift shop. Visitors feel compelled to emerge with a trinket or t-shirt.
Kids all over town were spotted wearing ultra cheapo versions of Crockett’s coonskin cap. The store displayed them in a barrel. Just grab one. Or spring for reproductions of the original weapons including Bowie knives. A sign says that weapons will not be sold to school groups. My goodness. For all of you grown ups out there, however, this is a chance to load up on knives, guns and ammo. Just what you need to blow away intruders or anyone else you might take offense to.
Visiting San Antonio was less about Remember the Alamo than Remember the Gift Shop of the Alamo. Astrid bought a couple of post cards to send to the grand children.
After a dose of Lone Star history we found our way to the delightful San Antonio River Walk. It curves about for a couple of miles. We enjoyed a delightful lunch watching water flow by.
A bride and groom walked along. He was blind folded. I wondered why and called out to him “Love is Blind.” He didn’t listen as the bride tugged him along as brides will do.
What the Sam Houston.