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John Gaston’s Spirit Remembers the Alamo



The event is now known around the world, and the weight of it remains heavy.  The Alamo. Everybody knows. But not as John Gaston knew it. 

     John’s Spirit-ears echo with the roar of cannon fire and the blast of the rifles. He can’t forget it, as it was part of the bloody cocoon engulfing him in his last moments of life. Could it have been as horrific as he recalls? As February comes to an end, he revisits the place.

     There it is, that ancient chapel with its distinctive frontage. The thick limestone wall boasts complimentary stonework. A niche frames each side of the doors. Decorative masonry edges the window openings. Today it is beautifully peaceful. A crown of rock was added over the doors, but this visitor wouldn’t know that it was any different from centuries ago. 

     John Gaston never saw the front of the chapel. The Gonzales militia arrived in the early morning, before sunrise, and slipped in through a side gate. For the next six days he and a few hundred Texian defenders fought against thousands of Soldados in a desperate and hopeless contest. In the end, every defender was butchered, their bodies were all burned. It was from that pyre John’s spirit arose, and today revisits the last place he knew on earth. 

     Was it a shameful loss? Apparently not. As the Gaston Spirit hovers over the mission, throngs of visitors crowd the grounds to remember, and to honor the men lost there.  This was the place of unintentional faltering, an expensive intermission between decisive victories further east. John Gaston’s Spirit is soothed by the show of appreciation in this place. 

     Apparently, the people in the crowd can’t hear the cannon fire that haunts John Gaston’s memories. Apparently, only he can still smell the stench of death. The visitors see the names of the lost souls, but John Gaston remembers the grimaces on their faces as they were shot, and the thud as they fell to the ground. 

     The crowds come every day, but especially in late February through early March. As spring arrives, new generations come to Remember the Alamo and the men who fought there.

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