Ken Beaton: Remembering the Alamo, and the rich history there

Courtesy Ken Beaton

Courtesy Ken Beaton

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Do you believe in providence? We’d planned to meet friends in San Antonio from June 13-17. They drove there from Mobile, Ala. We flew and stayed four nights in the historic Menger Hotel (1859) next to the Alamo in downtown San Antonio. The fourth and fifth NBA playoff games never entered our minds.

As we toured the Alamo on June 14, I began to see parallels between Texas and Nevada. Both were claimed by Spain and then Mexico.

In the 1820s, fur trappers cached their beaver pelts along the Humboldt River in Mexican territory while 30,000 Americans settled in northern Mexico, Tejas. The trappers and settlers were fiercely independent people who wanted to see what was beyond the horizon.

Nevada and Texas had ranching before and during their boom and bust years. In Nevada, as long as gold or silver ore was mined, times were great. When the ore ran out, the community moved to other diggings. Texas had boom times when oil was discovered and bust times when wells ran dry.

During World War II, both states had military bases that trained thousands of our boys to defeat tyranny. Houston has diversified to become the largest medical center in the U.S., the energy capital, the busiest port, the home of the Johnson Space Center and the largest city in Texas. Las Vegas, Nevada’s largest city, has eight of the 10 largest hotels in the world, convention facilities feed 2,500 dinners at one sitting and “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.”

On March 6, 1836, 187 Americans and Tejanos killed 600 of Santa Anna’s men at the Alamo. Their sacrifice became the rallying cry to defeat Santa Anna in 18 minutes on April 21, 1836, at San Jacinto. Texas became a republic. Freedom-loving Texans have served in 10 wars.

After the US defeated Mexico in the War of 1846-1848, Nevada became part of the Utah Territory and the Texas Navy finally had a treaty with Mexico after 12 years of sea battles.

Before Nevada became a state, residents enlisted in the Union Army and eight additional wars to conquer tyranny. Nevada’s men and women rest eternally under a Cross or a Star of David in our two veterans’ cemeteries or in military cemeteries around the world. Nevadans and Texans have similar histories.

We visited Lackland Air Force Base, the basic-training home for all Air Force recruits. Their display of WWII planes included a B-26C, a “Versatile Lady” with 10 forward-facing 50-caliber machine guns. Located in the “Hill Country,” Fredericksburg is the home town of Admiral Chester Nimitz and the National Museum of the Pacific War, a fascinating learning experience.

Now, I am prepared for Friday’s test.

Ken Beaton of Carson City contributes periodically to the Nevada Appeal.


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