On February 23, 1836, Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna's forces laid siege to the Alamo in San Antonio.
Armed supporters of Texian independence from Mexico, legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett among them, had recently seized the former religious mission. Vastly outnumbered, the defenders held out for 13 days before being overwhelmed and slaughtered on March 6.
"Remember the Alamo" immediately became the battle cry of the Texas revolution ... which led to a decisive victory just a few weeks later.
Since then, the story of Davy Crockett and the Alamo has proved irresistible to moviemakers ...
From the 1950s Disney version with Fess Parker ...
To the 1960 movie with John Wayne ...
To the 2004 remake with Billy Bob Thornton.
But the Alamo story is not without controversy. Many historians regard the decision to stand and fight a reckless one, made against the orders of the principal Texan commander, Sam Houston.
Still, in 2018 the Texas State Board of Education rejected calls from educators and historians who wanted to change school textbooks
Heroic or foolhardy, the story of the Alamo lives on, and attracts more than one-and-a-half million visitors every year.
Remember the Alamo, indeed.
For more info:
- The Alamo, San Antonio
- Remembering the Alamo (Smithsonian Magazine, April 2004)
- "The Alamo" (1960) available on Blu-ray and DVD
- "The Alamo" (2004) available on Blu-ray and DVD
Story produced by Robert Marston.