Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Alamo ~ Spirit of Sacrifice Cenotaph ~ San Antonio, Texas

Our RV Adventure has brought us to Texas, USA. The state is so large we know we’re not going to see all of it but we do want to see the very special sights in San Antonio, Texas. We arrived with plans for a few busy days. Our first day was to include a visit to the River Walk and the Alamo, the most visited historic site in Texas.
Spirit of Sacrifice Cenotaph
The first sight was the Spirit of Sacrifice Cenotaph. It stands 60 feet high in the Alamo Plaza, and was completed in 1939. The names of all soldiers who died in the battle of the Alamo are on this monument, the marker reads:                          
Erected in memory of the heroes who sacrificed their lives at the Alamo, March 6, 1836 in the defence of Texas. “They chose never to surrender nor retreat, these brave hearts with flag still proudly waving perished in the flames of immortality that their high sacrifice might lead to the founding of this Texas.”

San Antonio de Valero Mission
The Mission was formally called the San Antonio de Valero Mission, whose primary purpose was to convert the Indians to Christianity and to educate them. The remaining structures of the original Mission are the chapel and the long barrack. The cornerstone was set in place on May 8, 1744 but the Mission was founded years earlier in 1718. The chapel is open for viewing some of the artifacts on display and the shrine built for the soldiers who died. No cameras are allowed, for preservation purposes as well as respect to this building and the contents.

The Long Barrack
The Long Barrack is the other one of the two original structures that comprised Mission San Antonio de Valero, or the Alamo. It houses many artifacts on display in the long barrack. The story is told with murals and pictures as well as display cases that include coins, tools, dishes and weapons of the day. They also have uniforms that were worn at the time that look like they would fit a 10 year old child of today. They may have fought a big battle but they were small men.

The well is another preserved part of the original Mission. It sits under a large oak tree that would not have likely been planted there in those very early days. The sight of this well causes one to ponder the life that they led in the Mission back in 1744, over 250 years ago and marvel just at the idea that we’re actually standing on the same ground that history has marked.

This fountain is a quiet spot in one courtyard of the complex. The four sides are engraved with four of the defenders: Crockett, Bowie, Travis and Bonham. This vine covered wall behind the garden was not part of the original but was built as part of the renovations done in the 1920’s to preserve the site and used as the walkway, as could be within the fortess walls.

Research Library at the Alamo
The DRT Research Library contains books and documents on Texas History.

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, DRT was officially founded in 1891 by two young women. Their intent was to create an organization for women who were descendants of Texas pioneers in order to honor and preserve the memories of their ancestors.

Best known of the DRT efforts is the preservation of the Alamo site and buildings. All money used in preserving the Alamo comes from donations and sales at the Alamo Gift Museum with no monetary help from local, state or federal governments. No fees are charged to visitors of the Alamo.

I think that no matter where we’re from, when we hear San Antonio, Texas, we think of the Alamo. It was a big part of the history of the state and has been documented on every level. This was a worthwhile visit and a credit to everyone involved in preserving this part of their history.

Now follow us as we spend time on the San Antonio River Walk and the San Antonio Missions.


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