Sunday, November 21, 2010

November 1. San Antonio. The Alamo.

We're off to San Antonio.
Downtown San Antonio.
The Alamo is smack dab in the middle of downtown.
The Mission San Antonio de Valero was the first of five Spanish missions established along the San Antonio River between 1718 and 1731. When the Spanish military stationed a cavalry unit at the former mission in the early 19th century, soldiers renamed it Alamo, the Spanish word for "cottonwood," in honor of their hometown Alamo de Parras in the Mexican State of Coahuila. In December 1835 Texian volunteers (citizens of the sovereign Republic of Texas) took control of the Alamo, defeating Mexican forces quartered in the city. In response, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna launched an attack on the fortress that began on February 23,1836, and lasted 13 days. The badly outnumbered Alamo garrison (whose defenders included frontiersman Jim Bowie and folk hero Davy Crockett) held their ground until Santa Ann's troops stormed the walls and breached the barricaded compound.
The Battle of the Alamo has come to symbolize a heroic struggle against impossible odds and the place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. For this reason, the Alamo remains hallowed ground and the Shrine of Texas Liberty. When Youngest Hawthorne found out we were at the Alamo, he was excited and related his own information, "Mama, did you know Ozzie Osbourne was banned from the Alamo?" "No, I didn't." "Yeah, he pee'd on the Alamo." From Wikipedia: In 1982 while wearing his future wife Sharon's dress because she had hidden his clothes, Osbourne drunkenly urinated on a cenotaph erected in honour of those who died at the Alamo in Texas, across the street from the actual building.[67] A police officer arrested him,[65] and Osbourne was subsequently banned from the city of San Antonio for a decade Mr. Hawthorne sent Youngest Hawthorne a postcard from the Alamo. It read simply: "Mama has been banned from the Alamo."
The Defense of the Alamo
"Thermopylae had its messenger of defeat. The Alamo had none." The Alamo in 1836 consisted of this church, the convent, and a large rectangular area or plaza, an enclosure of about six acres surrounded by walls with barracks on the west side of the plaza. On February 23, 1836, Colonel William Barret Travis entered the Alamo with an approximate force of two hundred men. The siege commanded by General Santa Anna and an army of several thousand Mexican soldiers lasted nearly two weeks. At dawn on Sunday, March 6, the final assault was made and in less than an hour the defenders slain. Later the bodies were burned by order of General Santa Anna. This victory in defeat was the means of uniting the colonists in a determined effort to resist further oppression and by armed force secure permanent independence. "It was here that a gallant few, the bravest of the brave, threw themselves between the enemy and the settlements, determined never to surrender nor retreat. The redeemed their pledge to Texas with the forfeit of their lives - they fell the chosen sacrifice to Texas freedom. - Newell
Letter From The Alamo.
Commandancy of the Alamo Bexar, Feby 24th 1836 To the people of Texas and all Americans in the world -- Fellow citizens and compatriots I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans and Santa Anna. I have sustained a continual bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man. The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword if the fort is taken. I have answered the demand with a cannon shot and our flag still waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or retreat then. I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character to come to our aid, with all dispatch. The enemhy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country - victory or death. William Barret Travis Lt. Col. Comdt.

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