We are on a mini-vacation this weekend. My husband has a conference to attend and I decided to take off three days and join him. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to spend some time together and visit a new place as well. So here we are in San Antonio Texas. Home of The Alamo and Riverwalk.
Today we spent several hours exploring The Alamo. First we saw an IMAX movie about the battle that took place there and then went to visit the site. I had very little understanding of the significance of The Alamo. My knowledge of it was limited to the John Wayne movie of the same name and the phrase “Remember the Alamo” so I was surprised and moved when I learned the full story.
Historical places always seem so small when you see them in real life. It makes what happened there much more personal. As we walked the grounds, we listened to the docents describe the events of 1836; how 189 men held off three thousand of Santa Ana’s troops for two weeks ultimately being crushed in a battle that lasted less than 90 minutes; how two American legends, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett, were among the dead; how their commander Col. Travis was just 26 year old when he drew the famous “line in the sand”; how though they sent numerous couriers to the Texas army pleading for reinforcements, none came; how though every man there knew he was likely to die, they chose to stay and fight for what they believed; how afterward, Santa Ana in a show of disrespect, had the bodies burned; and how as a result of the time the siege bought, Sam Houston was able to gather a large force that defeated Santa Ana at San Jacinto only a few weeks later in a battle that became the turning point in the Texas Revolution.
Texans see the Alamo as a shrine, a sacred place. It is not part of the National Parks Service. It is owned by the State of Texas and under the custodial care of the DRT, Daughters of the Republic of Texas – a group I heard described as like “the Daughters of the American Revolution but with sawed-off shotguns”. They take their charge very seriously and even had a law passed restricting the height of nearby buildings so no shadow will ever fall across the Alamo.
As we wandered the grounds, I was struck by the number of wreaths and memorials placed there. One in particular caught my eye. It was a banner sayiing ” Camp Alamo Afganistan”. And I thought, “Wow. There are still heroes out there.”
But they are not all in the military. Yes, there are thousands of young men and women who bravely do whatever they are asked to everyday. But there are untold numbers of people who face the enemy daily. And the enemy is not always the Taliban. Sometimes it’s abuse, or bullying, or a devistaing disease. They know the outcome may not be what they want, yet they stand their ground and fight to the end.
The Spirit of the Alamo is still strong. And for that, I am grateful.