Friday

A New Look at the Alamo

San Antonio's Alamo has long mystified visitors to our fair city.  Some have even been disappointed at the seeming "smallness" of the edifice.  What we remember of our American history recounts of the magnificent Battle of the Alamo , the 200 men who fought there, the myriads of Santa Ana's Mexican military force, seem to preclude a location far larger to support such a grand legend. 
Many are confused by the signs requesting only soft whispers and for men to remove their hats.  Why the reverence?  Is this a church or a fort?  Men fought here so why the grave whispers?
I once felt this way as well so I get the confusion.  Although I'm not a history buff and I cringe at reading countless little plaques and signs in a museum of any sort, the Alamo's 175th anniversary has spurred a new found interest in our city's writers to delve deeply into the truth behind this mission and it's reputed importance in forming, not only the San Antonio and state of Texas we know today but also the great effect it had on the entire country.   I learned much from a gentleman who gives walking tours in the Alamo area of downtown. 
Historical Map of the Alamo with an Overlay of current downtown SA
You are helped to see that the whole downtown area is really a part of the Alamo and that the structure we see today is just the one remaining building, and not very original at that.  The "largeness" of the legend makes more sense then.  This tour gave a rare perspective of the Alamo from the vantage point of the city's early communities.  These communities played a key role in the battle because the Alamo, originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero,  was the center of them all.  Rather than this Alamo being poised in the middle of some isolated prairie as some movies have us believe, it was just across the San Antonio river from the center of town.  It's been suggested that an elevator ride to the top of the tower of the America's could give a pretty fair picture, even today, of the river looping through the city with both the Alamo and the San Fernando Cathedral forming the geographical and spiritual heart of San Antonio.  However now the river is marked with colorful restaurant umbrellas instead of the original lines of trees. 
But a careful walk around the Alamo with an historically trained eye and mind, reveals the very spots where can be found some original walls, the spot where, perhaps the lifeless body of Travis lay, or where the Santa Anna crossed from the northern hills into the town of San Antonio de Bexar.  Now those sites are inhabited by a post office, a bridge, a storefront or perhaps a restaurant.

During this 175th anniversary of the Alamo Battle we will have several opportunities to view reenactments of events associated with this famous and significant event and maybe increase our awareness of the far reaching effects it has had on each of us.  Below are some of the highlights of this years commemorative events:
Alamo Grounds

February 25       The Siege of the Alamo Candlelight tour
February 25-27 Glory at the Alamo
March 6               Dawn at the Alamo: A predawn ceremony to remember the fallen on both sides from the Alamo Battle.
March 4-6           Remember the Alamo Weekend: Dramatization of the events in the final days of the 13 day Alamo siege in 1836.
March 25-27       Fannin Massacre
July 4th               The Alamo 175th Anniversary Concert at Alamo Plaza.   FREE.  San Antonio will be "Remembering the Alamo"   with a series of reenactments and events including a concert by Phil Collins and others. 



I was inspired by some recent research but primarily by the San Antonio Walk's Alamo City Tours and this insightful article from the Texas Monthly both of which I highly suggest.


         
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