As it turned out, after a little break for our feet, and a snooze for Randy, we made our way over to the Alamo. We got our audio tour devices and headed in to learn about this famous place.
The structures are beautiful to me -- the stonework, both primitive and carved, the old trees and palms on the grounds... The chapel at the center of this memorial is a shrine to those who gave their lives on that spot. I couldn't help but compare in my mind to the shrine of the Arizona in Pearl Harbor. The men who died at the Alamo chose directly to give their lives for independence -- the men on the Arizona, indirectly. Yet, I don't see the same kind of emotion in many of the visitors at the Alamo, as I did in Pearl Harbor. Perhaps it's just the difference in time. Pearl Harbor is close enough to our generation that we know people who lived it. The Alamo is old history -- yet when you hear the story of what went on there, the bravery and sacrifice of that company of less than 200 men is phenomenal. They faced an enemy of many hundreds, eventually thousands, more under the control of the ruthless General Santa Anna. Though his forces could easily have waited for the small defenses of the Alamo to collapse, he instead chose to kill the defenders of the Alamo. Even had they surrendered, he said it would be a surrender of "no quarter", meaning he would take no prisoners. This demand was answered with a cannon shot from the defenders of Texas liberty. Their young commander, William Barret Travis, declared in his letter to the people of Texas "Victory or Death!"
We have heard so much about the Revolutionary fight for liberty, and the World Wars maintenance of liberty, but so little about the Southwest's fight for the same. Texas was it's own country for a while, you know -- something I forget, and something that explains to me the self-reliant attitude you find here. Unlike a lot of the rest of our country, Texans really do "Remember the Alamo!"