Driving through San Antonio, it can be easy to forget the long, storied history of the city within American, Mexican, and well, Texas, history. Even people who venture downtown, taking in the shell of the old 1800’s-style architecture get only a whiff of the old saloons and other very Western haunts found at one time here.
That is, until they turn around, walk back a little bit, and notice it off on a large piece of land. It could be mistaken for an old empty parking lot, but it certainly is much more significant and alive at a closer glance. The adobe looms much larger as you approach.
That’s the Alamo. Line up for a tour and you may just experience the most special museum in Texas, or the world, if you ask people in San Antonio.
It was the Alamo Mission at the time, though it had been where rebels from Mexican Texas holed themselves up when President General Santa Anna of Mexico and his troops attacked in 1836. His army slayed every last one of the Texians over the course of several days’ time.
There’s nothing calm or quiet about the Battle of the Alamo, or for the fight between Mexico and the new would-be states of the U.S. And yet, while so many were slaughtered at the Alamo, the site itself is not somber. It has joy in the passion of then Mexican Texas attempting to fight for its freedom.
It’s palpable in the songs about the war and the site itself. For Mexicans, it represented a victory easily but bloodily won to maintain its hold on Texas. For Texians, there is nothing more Texas than the Alamo, and their willingness to give up their lives for Texas. For Americans, the Alamo is a bit overshadowed by the legend of Davy Crockett.
When Crockett and his men, the last of the troops alive ran out of ammunition, they did just what you would expect Crockett to do. They used their weapons, their guns, as night sticks, batons and clubs. They pulled out knives, with Crockett’s still displayed at the Alamo.
There are many accounts of Crockett’s death, though one says he was among those who surrendered. Yes, there were initially survivors, until Santa Anna executed the remaining Texians for having rebelled in the first place.
Before getting to that point, one account stated that Crockett had succeeded in killing and fighting at least 15 Mexican soldiers, noted by their dead bodies surrounding his.
So much for the Mission.