I’m in San Antonio this weekend after a quick business trip to Denver at the end of the week. We almost ended up stranded in Dallas thanks to a snowstorm yesterday, but the snows abated, we were moved to a new flight and we arrived here 4 hours later than planned.
That left enough time to go over to the Alamo. I’ve been to San Antonio several times and love the city, but I’d never seen the Alamo. It was pretty cool, but I really wasn’t awed by it. And I can’t put my finger on why. The grounds are really nice, and walking amid the cactus and live oak and pecan was really the highlight of the visit. There’s just something too, well, propagandistic about the whole thing. But I guess that’s half the fun of preserving shrines like this. I felt the same way in Puebla when I visited the fort where the Mexican army held off French invaders in what is now celebrated on Cinco de Mayo. The flags, monuments, cannons and jingoism are a little spooky to me. I started thinking about the death threats one historian was receiving when he posited that Davey Crockett really was executed after pleading for his life rather than dying valiantly in battle. People really get freaked out about this stuff, especially when you start questioning the legends they worship.
Overall, it definitely was worth a visit, especially if you can flash back to the battle and wonder what was running through the minds of the fighters on both sides. I read Stephen Harrigan’s The Gates of the Alamo a few years ago and thought it did a great job of presenting all sides of the conflict in highly readable historical fiction. That’s worth checking out.
Now it’s time to toss Dr. Atkins under the bus and gorge on Mexican food …