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Sunday, December 5, 2010

The only thing worse than ignoring the "Don't Mess with Texas" maxim - Forgetting the Alamo!


Walt Disney's Davy Crockett
-King of the Wild Frontier - Alamo battle scene

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Tu8NskR-E


The only thing worse than ignoring the "Don't Mess with Texas" maxim - Forgetting the Alamo!

My comments follow this very troubling article from the New York Times.

-------
New York Times
Critics Accuse Group of a Serious Texas Sin: Forgetting the Alamo
By James McKinley
December 4, 2010


SAN ANTONIO — For 105 years, a private organization of women descended from Texas pioneers has been taking care of the Alamo with very little oversight by the state.


But in the last year members of the group, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, have found themselves besieged and divided. Dissidents have accused the leaders of caring more about building a $36 million library and theater nearby than about preserving the site’s old church and priest’s quarters, the only buildings remaining at the Spanish mission where at least 189 Texan rebels died fighting the Mexican Army in 1836.


Read the rest of the article at:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/05/us/05alamo.html

U.S.P.S.'s 1995 Texas Statehood Sesquicentennial Stamp
U.S.P.S.\

As some of you may well recall from previous posts of mine here, I was born in San Antonio, the home of The Alamo, at the Lackland Air Force Base Hospital during the first month of the JFK presidency.
My mother grew-up in San Antonio and then worked there before she later met my father
at next door Kelly AFB, where my mother worked for Kelly's base commander, my father in the Flight Surgeon's office.

(They each saw President and Mrs. Kennedy the day before he was killed, when Air Force One flew into Kelly and went thru the official receiving line. Our family has a great photograph of them at the base that day in 1963 that I've never seen published anywhere else in the myriad books and film of that time frame.)


My family on my mother's side has lived continuously in Texas since 1855, in the beautiful Hill Country, 40 miles northwest of San Antonio, in Bandera, where my mother was born, long before San Antonio became the seventh-largest city in the U.S. a few years ago.

(According to the numbers cited in Wikipedia, San Antonio is now three times larger in population than Miami.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population

Just saying...)


From what I'm told, now it's apparently thought of as a bedroom community for San Antonio, but for most of the past 150 years, the people in Bandera thought of San Antonio, as well as themselves, much differently, with Bandera being the place that largely remained true to its cowboy roots, before becoming a tourist haven, while San Antonio was the city that evolved into an ethnic and cultural melting pot and then later a tourist destination.

My maternal ancestors were Poles from a region of Prussian-controlled Upper Silesia, in a period where Poland wasn't free, in what is now southwestern Poland, not far from the present day Poland-Czech Republic border.
Those
ancestors were the majority of the original settlers there who created everything that was built there, from the schools to the church, St. Stanislaus.

The original 16 Polish families walked the hundreds of miles from Galveston, with all their belongings in ox-cart driven wagons, after a two-month trip by ship from their home in the Opole section of Prussian-controlled Poland via the ship Wesser in Bremen.


Overnight, those ancestors became Texas Hill Country pioneers in an area of Texas that still had lots of problems with Indians, as some of my ancestors were actually killed by Indians on trips to neighboring towns.

Due in large part to its large number of Polish, German and Czech immigrants, Bandera County was one of only a handful of Texas counties that voted AGAINST seceding from the Union at the state convention in Austin in 1861.


Though they arrived 19 years after the battle at The Alamo, they never forgot it, or what it meant to this country.
And neither have I.

-----

Bandera, Texas - Cowboy Capital of the World

Bandera, Texas -Cowboy Capital of the World
Logo of the Bandera Convention and Visitors Bureau

Bandera Convention and Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 171, Bandera, Texas 78003,

Phone: (830) 796-3045,
Toll-Free: 1-800-364-3833,
Fax: (830) 796-4121,

Email: cowpoke@banderacowboycapital.com

Website: www.banderacowboycapital.com

The Texas Hill Country
http://www.tourtexas.com/hill.html

A book I HIGHLY recommend on Texas' complicated history is Lone Star Nation: The Epic Story of the Battle for Texas Independence by H.W. Brands (2004). www.hwbrands.com


The Portal to Texas History http://texashistory.unt.edu/

Texas State Historical Association http://www.tshaonline.org/

I also highly recommend the Polish Genealogical Society of Texas http://www.pgst.org/

See also:
New York Times
Remembering the Alamo Is Easier When You Know Its Many-Sided History
Edward Rothstein
April 30, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/30/arts/30conn.html

Once upon a time... former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell -then also
a regular regular contributor to NPR- wrote a film review of the latest remake of The Alamo, which had originally starred John Wayne http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053580/ in 1960, but which in the 2004 remake -to very negative reviews- had Billy Bob Thornton and Dennis Quaid. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318974/

Anyway, in his review, Mitchell has Davy Crockett being from Kentucky instead of Tennessee, even though the first line of the Ballad of Davy Crockett is:
"Born on a mountaintop in Tennesee, greenest land in the "Land of the Free.."
I mean that's "common knowledge."

Davy Crockett = Tennessee,
Daniel Boone = Kentucky


Is it really too much to hope that reporters at the New York Times -and their editors- can get basic facts correct about their own country?
But that's a blog post for another time...



BILL HAYES - 'Ballad Of Davy Crockett' - 1956 78rpm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD6FlisQLEM

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