Monday, May 26, 2014

Alamo Tours Remind Texans About Their Glorious History

By Marci Glover

When it comes to examples of making a stand against all odds and against an overwhelming enemy San Antonio in Texas must rate at or near the top of the list. The epic battle between the Mexican hordes and the handful of Texan defenders ended there on 6 Match 1836. Legends such as Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie counted among the brave defenders. Today, more than two and a half million visitors undertake Alamo tours every year.

The battle has been a crossroads in Texan history and remains so to this day. It is here that Spanish colonization first took hold. However, most visitors simply want to visit the place where a mere handful of brave defenders stood firm for thirteen days against the powerful army of General de Santa Anna. Their death remains as a symbol of bravery and courage to this day.

This historic site is easily accessible. San Antonio is one of the ten biggest cities in the United States so it is possible to fly there, to go by train or bus or to simply drive there. Directions and traveling advice can be obtained from the official website, It is also possible to book a variety of guided tours, including exclusive tours for individuals or small groups.

The management maintains a policy that anybody must be able to visit this unique site. This is why they do not charge an entrance fee. Operation costs and maintenance is funded by means of donations from the public and the support of organizations such as The Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Texas General Land Office.

At the heart of the site is a church that now serves as a shrine to those who died there. This church was where some of the defenders made their last stand and where they died. Visitors are asked to be respectful. The church contains flags from the countries of origin of all those that formed part of the defense. The building itself features a distinctive architectural hump and a fine ornamental facade.

The oldest building on the site, almost three hundred years old, is home to the Long Barracks Museum. When the outer walls were breached during the final battle, some of the survivors retreated here and this is where some of the fiercest fighting took place. Today it features a fascinating collection of exhibits called A Story Bigger Than Texas. Visitors can also view a short film on the battle itself.

The curators of the site maintain that it is a shrine of Texas liberty. Visitors are therefore requested to adhere to a set of unique rules. For example, gentlemen are required to remove their hats prior to entering and no photography is allowed inside any of the buildings. Visitors are to use lowered voices only. Offensive clothing is strictly prohibited.

History often serves as a reminder of great deeds, extraordinary courage and self sacrifice. The Alamo is one such place where Texans, indeed all Americans can honor the efforts their forebears have made to ensure that they are at liberty today. Freedom always has a price and those that paid it deserve remembrance and honor.

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