The unforgettable Alamo

Just for kids

Yak's corner

August 16, 1999

Remember the Alamo? Many people don't. But Texans do, and they're proud of the story. In Texas, it's a symbol of a fight for independence.

The story of the brave men who fought to save the Alamo is a story that you should know, too. The best place to start is right in the center of San Antonio, in the busy town square, where part of the Alamo still stands.

When you cross the plaza, the Alamo at first appears smaller than you expect. But our guide, the Alamo's historian, Richard Bruce Winders, had us stop and picture the historic garrison, or fort, as it would have been 163 years ago. The classic shape of what we call the Alamo is the original church. The fort's grounds extended well beyond the walls that stand today.

Our guide told us that the goal of the soldiers -- all volunteers -- was to make Texas free from Mexico or die trying.

The people fighting for independence from Mexico had defeated the Mexican troops in San Antonio. They took over the Alamo and made it even stronger. They knew they would have to fight again. Months later, Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna led his troops back in a surprise attack.

The story has become famous around the world because these men -- fewer than 200 of them -- refused to surrender to an overwhelming force of several thousand well-armed soldiers. They gave up their lives. They included famous men like Davy Crockett, the frontiersman and former congressman from Tennessee, and Jim Bowie, a famous fighter.

Inside what was the church is now a shrine, or sacred place, that honors the people who died there.

Most Texas schoolchildren visit the Alamo as part of their history lessons. But visitors also come from around the world. A Japanese poet was so moved by this story that he gave a stone memorial and his poem to the Alamo.

He couldn't forget the Alamo. Neither can we.

-- Janis Campbell and Cathy Collison

To learn more about the Alamo on the Web, go to, or and click on "The Alamo."

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