Remember the Alamo

15 April 2008

San Antonio is the setting for one of the most heroic episodes of US history. Erected in about 1722 as a Franciscan mission, the Alamo later became a fort during the Texan war of independence against Mexico. On 23 February 1836, 155 Texan soldiers gathered there as a Mexican force of thousands under the command of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, General and Dictator of Mexico, marched to the outskirts of San Antonio.

Santa Anna deployed his troops around the structure and, when his artillery arrived, launched an intensive assault. On 1 March, as the battle was in progress, a gallant band of 32 volunteers joined the Alamo defenders under the command of Colonel William Barrett Travis. They refused to surrender and withstood the onslaught until 6 March, when the Mexicans succeeded in breaching the mission walls and killed the remainder of the garrison in furious hand-to-hand struggle. Among the dead were frontiersmen Davy Crockett and James Bowie, who invented the bowie knife. The only survivors were 15 civilians, hidden in the mission. The Mexicans lost 600 men in the battle. The forces of Sam Houston soon adopted the battle cry of “Remember the Alamo!”

The Battle of the Alamo has inspired numerous books; songs; an academy-award winning movie starring John Wayne and Richard Widmark; and a more recent movie starring Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton. In the heart of the city, the Alamo will be a featured stop on the mission tour during the SC&RA Annual Conference.

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