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As school children, we all learn about the history-making events at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. By the time we reach adulthood, however, only bits and pieces stay in our memory. Unless of course, you hail from Texas!

Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) was established in 1718 as the city's first mission. The chapel, one of the most recognized and photographed facades in the country, and the Long Barrack, are all that remain of the original fort.

The story of the Alamo is the touching tale of a 13-day siege, where the defenders were greatly outnumbered. The group assembled at the Alamo had a choice, but they all (except for one man) chose to stay and fight, against incredible odds. It is that ultimate sacrifice made for freedom, which continues to inspire us today.

As the defenders saw it, the Alamo was the key to the defence of Texas and they did not want to surrender to Mexican General Santa Anna.

William B. Travis was the commander of the Alamo. Though he sent couriers carrying pleas for help, few came. On the eighth day of the siege, a small band of 32 volunteers from Gonzales arrived bringing the number of defenders to nearly 200.

The final assault came before daybreak (unlike the John Wayne movie portrayal which occurs in daylight) on March 6, 1836. Columns of Mexican soldiers emerged from the predawn darkness and headed for the Alamo's walls. Small arms fired and cannon blasts from inside beat back several attacks. But, after re-grouping, the Mexicans scaled the walls and rushed the compound. By sunrise the battle was over and Santa Anna entered the compound to witness the scene of his victory. The dead and wounded lie everywhere.

All the Texans died and Santa Anna ordered their bodies burned. Santa Anna's loss was 1544 men, with many hundreds more wounded. Although General Santa Anna dismissed the siege as "a small affair" one of his officers was noted as saying, "another such victory will ruin us."

The most famous among the defenders was frontiersman Davy Crockett. A folk hero even before the siege, Crockett was defeated at the polls for a third term in Congress in 1835. Eager for more adventures he headed to Texas, where he bravely fought his last battle.

Jim Bowie, the famous knife fighter, was also at the Alamo. History records he was quite ill and dying by the time of the final battle. It's believed he was killed by the Mexican soldiers as he lie nearly helpless in his sickbed.

Six weeks after the Alamo, Santa Anna was defeated at San Jacinto, by General Sam Houston. Historians believe the battle at the Alamo bought the Texans valuable time, which aided in Houston's defeat of Santa Anna.