A few years ago I managed to get press credentials to cover the tax day Tea Party rally at the Alamo in San Antonio. It turned out to be the largest Tea Party demonstration ever held in Texas and one of the largest anywhere in the country. It was quite a scene with tens of thousands of people on the streets, live national television broadcasting and headliners such as Glenn Beck taking the stage.
To be honest until that moment I had no idea of the cultural and economic disconnect developing across America. While walking and photographing the crowd it became clear to me change was coming that would shake the country. We had crossed a threshold, political momentum had shifted and there was no turning back. I was part of something similar once a long time ago. To be honest I think the political shift we see today started in 1968. What goes around comes around.
Tomorrow with the inauguration of a new president the country officially changes direction. It is a hard thing to change and I am proud that we, as a country, have held true to our democratic principles. As much as we complain and yell at one another about politics the fact remains we will have an orderly transition of political power tomorrow. In many ways we are facing the most revolutionary change of government in nearly fifty years. Best of all we did it with ballots and not bullets. It is a good day for the republic.
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The anniversary of the siege and fall of the Alamo is a couple of months away. There are several presentations in Alamo Plaza each year to commemorate the events which contributed to Texas independence. For many years colorful and noisy reenactments of the events were staged on the plaza, often with a hundred or more participants. They are probably now a thing of the past.
The State of Texas and City of San Antonio are working together to restore the historical integrity of Alamo plaza and surrounding streets. The Alamo and the other original missions in San Antonio have been designated as UNESCO world heritage sites which must be preserved. Good thing really, the garish entertainment surrounding the plaza resembles a Florida theme park.
The reenactments of the fall of the Alamo always ended with the participants honoring those who gave their lives on both side of the battle. This man is bowing in silent tribute.
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Solemn and important ceremonies at the Alamo often include a bagpiper to lend an air of dignity to the proceedings. I’m not sure why the sound of a bagpipe has such an effect on people but it certainly the focuses attention of a crowd. This gentleman played at the dawn ceremony a few years ago.
The ceremony takes place before dawn every year marking the battle which wiped out the Alamo garrison. For Texans there could hardly be a more solemn event. On that morning every year flowers are placed in front of the mission and prayers offered in English and Spanish. Direct descendants of those who participated in the battle are honored guests in the wreath laying ceremony.
While San Antonio and Texas sleeps a small group gathers to remember a pivotal event in Texas history.