Something draws me to the Alamo when I’m in San Antonio. I can’t stay away. Ever since my first visit sometime in the 1980s, I have found myself not only going there again and again, but taking people to see it. Three visits to San Antonio over the years. Three tours of the mission church/battleground. Three times I said to someone else, “You have to see the Alamo.”
The 18th century relic is situated in the middle of a vibrant Texas city. It’s hard to think of it as an outpost in the middle of Spanish-held territory as it once was. And in fact, it once took up much more space than it does now.
It was a mission church, a fort and a convent for the missionaries who lived here. And it doesn’t look at all as it did when General Santa Anna arrived to stop the Texas Revolution as Texans sought to gain their independence from Mexico in 1836. The Texans were outnumbered and the battle was lost. But the fight for independence would continue.
The mission had many uses over the years since, mostly as an Army post. So there are other buildings on the property that give it a small village feel. And the pathways under ancient trees are cool and lovely.
People from every state (at the time) and several other nations fought here. Some of them were famous, including Sam Houston, Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett. Women and children were caught inside the post, and huddled in the sacristy of the church for safety.
It’s a haunting place, remembering the violence that took place here. But it’s a proud place, a place of honor where men put their lives on the line for independence.
“Remember the Alamo” was a rallying cry during Texas’ bid for independence.It’s hard to forget it.
Ⓒ Text and photos Mary K. Tilghman