Remembering the Alamo again

SAN BENITO — “Apunta! Fuego!” ordered the Mexican officer in the striking blue uniform.

Smoke exploded from the rifles of the infantrymen, the musket balls ripping toward the Alamo defenders who promptly fired back.

“Cap and reload boys!” ordered Col. William B. Travis, played by Bruce Kidd in yesterday’s reenactment of the Battle of the Alamo at the San Benito Fairgrounds.

Admiring history lovers watched the battle presented by the Texas Heritage and Independence Celebration Association. This was the eleventh year THICA has presented the reenactment for the city’s annual Texas Independence Day celebration.

“It was amazing,” said Chelsea Woosley, 46.

“I came from San Antonio to see this,” she said. “My family is part of it. It’s my first time to see them do this. I was in awe because everybody seemed to be in character. The costumes were authentic. It was fantastic.”

Organizers and reenactors were well-versed in the events of Texas Independence. Salomon Torres said playing Mexican Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana presented several challenges.

“The biggest challenge is demonstrating to people he was more multi-faceted than just a military dictator,” Torres said. “He had an interesting career as a military leader but also as president of Mexico. He was extremely patriotic to the point he was hostile against the U.S.”

During the reenactment, Mexican troops in the sharp uniforms marched into place on the battlefield awaiting orders from officers moving swiftly about on horseback. Santa Ana, aka Torres, gave his proclamation to the Alamo defenders.

“The malcontents who have occupied the Alamo do not respect our country or our national territory,” he said in Spanish. “Our laws require me to treat them like pirates, like filibusterers who have come to steal our land.”

He then gave them the opportunity to surrender. No prisoners would be taken if the Mexican Army had to attack. Of course, no one surrendered, and the battle ensued.

A loud “KaBOOM!” rocketed across the field from a cannon as the Alamo defenders gave their answer.

“Viva Mexico! Viva Republica! Viva Santa Ana!” shouted the troops as they rushed toward the Alamo, quickly overwhelming the defenders.

Onlookers were pleased.

“It’s history coming to life,” said Jose Ramos. “It’s always good to see real reenactments of something that happened a long time ago.”