Remember the Alamo!
Written by Randy Behymer
Suppose your travels take you near San Antonio, Texas, and you have the slightest interest in American history. The Alamo is a perfect place for your next RV destination.
Situated directly in the city center, just a few blocks away from the famous San Antonio Riverwalk sits the San Antonio de Valero mission. Later renamed the Alamo and Long Barracks, the old Spanish mission can trace its origins back to the early 1700s. The Alamo is rich in history and two of the still standing structures, the church and Long Barracks, are the oldest buildings in Texas. Texas gained its independence here during one of the state’s bloodiest battles. The Alamo became a story of heroism and courage under fire in the face of incredible odds. The conflict's horrific conclusion ignited the Texas Revolution and inspired the famous battle cry, “Remember the Alamo!”
In the early days of the Texas Revolution, the Alamo was a Mexican military outpost used to protect the territory from French and American threats (worldheritagesa.com). However, in October of 1835, in response to a recent conflict in Gonzales, angry colonists pushed the Mexican army out of San Antonio and the Alamo. In response, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna vowed to retake San Antonio and the Alamo. After a long winter march, General Santa Anna arrived in San Antonio in February of 1836 with an estimated 2500 troops and quickly forced out the Texas revolutionists from San Antonio. On the run, the 200 or so Texas soldiers took a defensive position in the Alamo.
For 13 days, the 200 Texans defended the Alamo and held off the Mexican soldiers. On March 6, 1836, the final attack would come as Santa Anna sent wave after wave of Mexican troops who finally breached the Alamo fortifications. The last stand took place near the small church, which is the most recognized building in the Alamo. The ensuing battle took only 90 minutes before the Texan troops were overtaken. The few surviving Texans attempted to surrender only to be executed on the spot. While Santa Anna was expecting to crush the rebellion forever, his actions instead ignited the flame of the Texas Revolution.
In 1836 the Alamo was a large, five-acre Spanish mission encompassing land where many hotels and buildings now stand. What remains today is the famous Spanish era church and the Long Barracks. As you walk through the now beautifully landscaped grounds, shaded by massive live oak trees, it’s hard to imagine the bloody battle that ensued on the grounds almost 200 years before. Guests can now tour the grounds, Long Barracks and church. Cannons used in the battle can be found throughout the grounds, now plugged and painted a shiny black, as if merely shrugging off their pasts. Archeologists still actively work on this site and restoration projects can be found throughout the grounds. To have survived since the 1700’s, what lies on this land are some of the oldest structures in Texas, having survived since the 1700s. They symbolize the tenacity of the Texans who fought for their independence.
When you visit, slow down and listen to the stories of the past that are so richly woven into the Alamo’s walls. Guests can enjoy a detailed, narrated history of the grounds and of the people who fought here given by knowledgeable park rangers. You can also take a self-guided tour of the grounds. Surrounded by modern life that moves by at break-neck speeds, the Alamo holds tight to her history, heritage and purpose.