The Cognitive Development Society conference in San Antonio, Texas has just ended and I am sitting here in Atlanta, waiting for a connecting flight to Newark and then to Bristol, UK. This long journey home began this morning with a 7am flight. It will take me 24hrs to reach jolly olde England but I guess that this is nothing compared to journeys before the modern era.
Whilst here, I checked out The Alamo and was surprised to discover that of the 189 men who died defending the fort in the struggle for Texan independence from Mexico, the majority were not from Texas. In fact, 29 were Europeans with a mixture of English, Irish, Scots, Welsh, German and even Danish. Imagine traveling all that distance to end up in a massacre.
Decades later another Englishman was less welcome in San Antonio. The Alamo is considered sacred and the Shrine of Texas Liberty. All hats must be removed on entering the hallowed remains. No photographs are allowed inside. And like religious shrines, it has its relics including Davy Crockett’s gun and personal belongings on display in glass cabinets. (ok so I violated the strict rules with this iPhone shot). So it is no surprise that the authorities did not take too kindly to a drunken Ozzy Osbourne, dressed in his wife’s clothes urinating on the Alamo back in 1982 during a binge in San Antonio. (By taking away his clothes, Sharon thought he would have no way of getting out of the hotel).
The Texans were so outraged by this desecretion that Ozzy was banned from San Antonio for 10 years until he finally apologized and apparently made a $10K donation to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas who maintain the upkeep of the Alamo. I looked into this amusing story and found reports that he had not in fact desecreted the Alamo but rather the cenotaph outside the fort erected much later. Still, sacred is sacred and you don’t want to piss off Texans – they like to carry guns and consult the bible when deciding the fate of criminals.