San Antonio is the second largest city in the great state of Texas. Bexar county is located in the south central part of the state on the San Antonia river and serves as the county seat. San Antonio was visited in 1691 by Franciscan Friar on Feast Day in celebration of Saint Anthony, whose name sake San Antonio de Padua was given to this soon to be legendary city. San Antonio remained almost continuously under Spanish Rule until September 1821 – this is when Mexico won its Independence from Spain. During the outbreak of the Texas Revolution which involved fighting against the Mexican Dictator General Santa Anna, San Antonio was captured by a small band of Texian rebels who occupied the fortified Mission of the Alamo in December 1835. The historic battle of the Alamo was fought from February 24 to March 6, 1836. Its 183 besieged defenders were massacred by Santa Anna’s over powering army. The battle cry, “Remember the Alamo” was shouted six weeks later when Texian Gen. Sam Houston defeated the Mexican army at The Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.
Texas became an independent republic on March 2, 1836 and San Antonio was incorporated as a city on January 5, 1837. After the civil war and the arrival of the railroads in 1877, San Antonio prospered as a major shipping point of cattle. It is also a leading livestock center and one of the largest produce exchange markets in the country. The city has been an important military center since World War II and is the home to five of the largest military installations in the nation. The city’s industries are highly diversified and tourism plays an important roll to its local economic structure. So, let’s view “Through My Eyes” one of Texas’s historical sights.
The Alamo’s grand entrance (shown first top-left) has been restored to reflect its centuries old authenticity. It also served as the mission’s chapel. The barracks (shown above-right) of General Santa Anna’s opposing defenders is where the battle weary soldiers spent their last days resting. The Alamo’s gardens (pictured, above-left) offer shady trees and lots of colorful flower gardens. Its hard to believe that this was a place where hundreds of Texans and Mexicans alike were killed by Santa Anna’s tyrannical army. The historic grounds have lots of stone walkways that take you back to a time when people enjoyed the simple life.
The Alamo Cenotaph, also known as “The Spirit of Sacrifice” was created by sculptor Pompeo Coppini from a design by architect Carlton Adams. The construction began in 1937 and took two years to complete. The 60 foot tall structure is 40 feet long, 12 feet wide and is located adjacent to the surviving building of the Alamo itself. The “Alamo Cenotaph” pays tribute to the men who died defending the mission against overwhelming odds. According to historians, the “Alamo Cenotaph” marks the spot where the slain warriors were piled up after the battle and burned. The remains left by the funeral pyre were later collected by local citizens and turned over to patron’s hands. They are now entombed in a marble casket at the nearby San Fernando Cathedral.
You can walk around this sculptured monument and view carvings of the Alamo defenders, including depictions of William B Travis, Jim Bowie, David Crockett, and James B Bonham. The monument’s base is inscribed with the names of the men who died at the Alamo. The marker on the Cenotaph reads: Erected in memory of the heroes who sacrificed their lives at the Alamo, March 6, 1836, in the defense of Texas. They chose neer 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.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit San Antonio, Texas, you should make it a point to experience The Alamo tour. San Antonio has many other exciting attractions like the River Walk, Six Flags over Texas and the Tower of the Americas to mention a few.
Author: Diana Blevins
Photographer: Diana Blevins
Associate Editor: Maureen Scopel
Publisher: You, Me and The Dock