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08/17/2010

Remembering The Alamo, As Any Good Texan Does

I have to admit I'm pretty uneducated when it comes to Texas history. I first came here for college in 2000 and at our freshman orientation camp I met a girl whose last name was Austin. She was talking about how she was a decedent of Stephen F. Austin and everyone thought it was the coolest thing. I had no idea who Stephen F. Austin was and just didn't get it.

Then, I married a Texan. And not just any Texan, but a sixth generation Texan-to-the-core guy. He takes his Texas history very seriously, as do most Texans, and so when in San Antonio this weekend, we had to stop by the Alamo (and we were only a few blocks from the Alamo--I've been here a couple times, but as a kid, so seeing it as an adult was going to be good).

We got to the Alamo when it opened, around 9am, not just to beat the crowds but the heat as well. It was going to be in the triple digits all weekend (both in Dallas and San Antonio, which are about a 4.5 hour drive apart) and even at 9am it was 85 degrees.

There are a ton of details I won't bore you with, but I'll hit you with some highlights.

First, the grounds were amazing. I'm a sucker for old trees and there were some old trees here.

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I had to pose next the biggest pecan tree I've ever seen. Native pecans usually grow in riverbed areas and the big ones are hundreds of years old. This one was just amazing.

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We also saw a HUGE live oak. I wasn't too familar with the live oak until I moved to Texas and they stay green year-round. This one was transplanted when it was 40 years old and now has to be held up by a series of poles and cables. It just makes you want to climb it.

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The old structure around the Alamo. In front is a paddle cactus. That is just ONE plant, not a bunch of them together.

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So, without any further delay . . .

The highlight of the morning was seeing the Alamo itself. The church (which is the most famous part of the Alamo) wasn't complete during the 13 day battle between Santa Anna's Mexican army and the Texas Revolution fighters. It had no roof and was just a small part of the complex that surrounded it.

The famous top you see below was actually added years later by the U.S. Army. 

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All the men fighting for the Texan Revolution died during the battle, including the famous Davy Crockett. What amazed me the most was how diverse the men that fought and died were. They came from various countries and various states, and there were even a couple freedman that fought, i.e. slaves that were free but chose to fight.

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We got to stand in front of the same rocks that witnessed a huge part of Texan and American history.

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After the fall of the Alamo, Texas was able to regroup for the Battle of San Jacinto. The Mexican army was taken by surprise, and the battle was essentially over after 18 minutes, with Texas coming out on top. During the fighting, many of the Texan soldiers repeatedly cried "Remember the Alamo!" I'm glad we're able to preserve and remember it too.

And, as any good Texan, I now have the pictures to prove it.

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