Tell me a Story: April 2019: The Alamo

If you did not catch yesterdays post, we are in San Antonio.  My brother is in town and we are catching up once again.  It’s Wednesday and we are up bright and early.  Or rather once my brother left for the convention center.  Today we are heading to the Alamo.

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The Riverwalk has a single canal that goes off of the U, and that heads up to a few restaurants, to a shopping center and eventually to the Alamo.  So off we went.  The morning is peaceful, with few walkers, and one or two joggers.

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This is our second day in town and I am still in love with the bridges and the serenity of the nature side of the walks.

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I spotted this church in the background and it turns out is St Johns Lutheran church.  I visited it later in the week and discovered it was a beautiful church with gorgeous stain glass windows.  A bit about the church – in the 1800’s many German families moved to San Antonio for a new beginning.

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The families traveled by wagon, many of them settling in San Antonio.  A church was established and led by Pastor Phillip Zizelmann, starting out with only 15 members.

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The current church was established in 1932 during the Great Depression.  The church is absolutely stunning, hosts gorgeous stained glass windows.  If you are in the area, make sure that you get to stop by St John’s Lutheran Church.  Sit in a pew, relish the silence, be in peace.

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Continuing up the Riverwalk we finally arrived at the shopping center, did a quick walk through there and came out on the other side.

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Since we had opted to have a late breakfast, Starbucks was on the agenda.

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It was pleasant to sit outside that morning.  The weather was cool and since we were early for the Alamo, we just sat back and enjoyed the beautiful day.

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From Starbucks it is a very short walk to the Alamo.  I loved all the metal work we were passing through.

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Arriving at the Alamo, I was amazed at these stunning, sprawling trees that lined the sidewalk and inside the actual gardens.

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Arriving at the Alamo I was surprised at how small it actually was.  So why is the Alamo so significant to Texas, and San Antonio history.  The way I understand the video that I watch was that the land originally belonged to the Mexicans, but was not thriving.  In order to develop the land they invited settlers into the area.   Due to new policies on the Mexicans part, along with increased tariffs and new enforced immigration laws, the immigrants started to rebel.

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In the October of 1836, the Texas Revolution occurred.  This was the first battle between Americans and Mexicans.  The Mexicans were defeated by the Americans.  The President of Mexico, Santa Anna, was enraged.  A new resolution by Santa Anna, resulted in any immigrant fighting being executed.  When the Mexicans fled San Antonio, the Americans captured the Mexican garrison, now known as the Alamo.

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The original design of the Alamo had been to prevent Indians from attacking and gaining entrance to this Spanish Fort.  However it was not built to withstand military with artillery capable to destroying the walls.  Early in 1936, the commander, Colonel James Neill wrote requesting additional troops and supplies to boost the remaining 100 soldiers housed in the Fort.   The government was not able to supply much assistance.

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Colonel Neill requested help from Huston, and the result was that 30 men under the command of Colonel James Bowie were sent to aid Colonel Neill.

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In the interim the army under the Mexican President Santa Anna had swelled to over 6000 troops. Soon they began to march on the Alamo.  A slow and tedious march, but march all the same.

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Santa Anna marched on the Alamo, hoisting a red flag to signifying that no quarter would be given.  No agreement could be reached through representatives and at that point a siege began.  On February 25 about 200 Mexican soldiers managed to get to some wooden huts close to the forts.  The Texian soldiers were able to drive them back.

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On March 3, the Mexican soldiers numbered more than 3000 men.  Seeing the number swell Colonel Travis sent 3 men, including Davy Crockett to try to find troops that were supposed to be on their way.  They did find a group of about 50 men, and were able to drive their way through the Mexican troops to get to the safety of the Alamo

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History has it that the Mexicans bombarded the Alamo relentlessly, and then eased off.  The easing off allowed the Texian soldiers to rest and for many to fall asleep.   In the early hours of the morning, Mexican troops silently marched on the Alamo.  The fort was surrounded.

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The guards stationed to watch were killed in their sleep, and the Mexicans moved closer.  At this point the Mexicans began to celebrate their impending glory.  Shouts of Viva Santa Anna went up and the noise woke the sleeping Texians.  The Mexicans stormed the fort.

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The Texans escaped to the chapel and the quarters.  The fort was taken over by the Mexicans and the last fighting Texian group was lead by Davy Crockett.  By this time the Mexican troops controlled all of the outer walls, and they turned their attention to the flag.  Replacing the American flag with the Mexican flag resulted in the death of four Mexican soldiers.

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The Mexican systematically took control of the fort and within hours all the men were killed and only women and children were left surviving.  Santa Anna hoped that with the recapturing of the Alamo and the knowledge of the size of his troops, things would be restored back to normal with the Mexicans controlling the area.

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However, the events at the Alamo had the opposite effect and on April 21 the Texian army attacked the Mexican troops.  Within 18 minutes the Battle of San Jacinto was over.  While the Mexicans were slaughtered shouts of “Remember the Alamo” could be heard.  Santa Anna was captured, but his life was spared.  He and his troops were forced out of Texas.  This ended the Mexican control of the area and allowed for the beginnings of a New Republic.

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The Alamo today is not this huge fort, but rather the grounds along with what is left of the buildings.  The grounds are beautiful, in fact despite the tourists, they are peaceful.

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Suggestions of what living back in those days are created for us to view.

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The Alamo building like the rest of the historical buildings, have the same design, same stone, similar structures.

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I love old buildings and these that we saw at the Alamo, and the missions really captured my attention.

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In a quiet courtyard is a tribute to the men who defended the Alamo. Colonel’s Bowie, Bonham, Travis and Crockett.  This is an area for peaceful reflection.

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One of the aspects of this style of building is the beautiful arches.  You will see them again in a different blog on the Missions of San Antonio.

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There is the unique contrast of old buildings, each with their own style and details.

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And like most cities there is the contrast of old and new.  If you are thinking of visiting the Alamo, make sure to swing by and watch the video on the history of the Alamo.  There was only one downside to visiting the main building of the Alamo.  Photographers were not allowed to take photographs inside the building.  When asked why, I was told that the building is “reverent”.  Fortunately there was not a lot to take inside.

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I hope that you enjoyed my walk through the Alamo.  It is definitely worth the visit.  Oh, and a bonus, it was free to visit.

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