Monday, February 13, 2017
Revisiting San Antonio, Part 1
Just back from a road trip to San Antonio – probably my seventh visit there, if I count USAF Basic (even though I never left the base). I was there last in 2009, attending a conference for a previous company(posts here, here, and here). It was a conference visit again this time, only by coincidence the conference was held in the hotel I had stayed at the last time.
I arrived a day early and decided to take a couple of hours’ worth of time out to actually tour the Alamo as a priority. It’s a story most USA-ers studied in grade school, but for boomers like myself, we were also indoctrinated by Disney and Fess Parker as Davy Crockett to remember the story (the Alamo gift shop actually sells coonskin caps). I’ve walked by the little structure on most visits through town, since the Riverwalk is a central theme there and the Alamo is situated right next to that landmark.
The Wikipedia article details a grisly battle, which was foretold when the Mexican army arrived in San Antonio and unfurled a red banner indicating “no quarter” for the resistance. There were no survivors.
The Alamo was originally built as part of the Spanish colonization of North America – a mission along the string of them that extended from Florida to California, meant to formalize and secure their claim to these lands. The main building that we think of was built as a church, but it was never completed, and eventually the mission was abandoned.
The grounds comprise between three and four acres – about the same amount we own surrounding Hawksbill Cabin – so it’s eye-opening to think of the amazing history that took place on such a small patch of ground. That’s something that leaves a lasting impression, how small the Alamo is; along with reading the story – how fast the battle was over, with all the defenders killed – the promise of no quarter delivered.
Apparently, the story of the battle of the Alamo resonates with Japanese history. There is a small monument on the site that compares the 1575 Battle of Nagashino to the events at the Alamo. The context of both battles includes a small group of defenders fighting to their ends, surrounded by an overwhelming force.