Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Alamo is NOT an "Over-Rated Tourist Attraction"

I signed onto Yahoo a bit ago to check my email and the first thing that greated my eyes was a photograph of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, beneath a banner headline that read, "U.S.'s Most Over-Rated Tourist Attractions."

Apparently the writer, Andew Harper, feels that the Alamo (along with seven other famous American points of interest) is not worth the time of day. He basically described it as a "few small stone buildings and some neatly trimmed lawns."

Andrew Harper, by the way, is not even his real name. Its the fake identity for a writer who describes himself as a "gentleman traveler."

I am not a Texan but I have a few words for Mr. Harper: Don't mess with Texas!

Insulting the memory of the men who fought and died at the Alamo is not the act of a real gentleman.

Tourists visit the Alamo, but it is not a "tourist attraction." The Alamo is a shrine, preserved to remind us all of the heroism that took place in and around those "few small stone buildings." It is a place where men gave their lives for what they believed. It is a place where Anglo, Tejano and African-American Texans fought side by side against what they considered a tyrannical government and where Mexican soldiers, many of them from the poorest villages in Mexico, fought bravely and died in the service of their country.

To call the Alamo an "over-rated tourist attraction" is an insult not just to the men of both sides who fought and died there, it is an insult to all people of any generation who fought for their countries. The places where men spilled their blood are sacred. It is a shame that too many Americans - Mr. Harper, for example - no longer appreciate that fact.

While it is often crowded and only a few of its blood-stained buildings remain, the Alamo is a place to pay tribute to those who came before us, those who gave their lives in the service of greater causes. We can never honor them enough. The words of critics like Andrew Harper will come and go, but the memory of the deeds performed by the men who fought at the Alamo will last forever.

You can learn more about what happened and why the Alamo is such a special place in Texas and American history by visiting

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