There are those things that happen in life that are so huge, so overwhelming, so horrible, or so wonderful, for that matter, that they forever leave their mark upon a town and its people, a mark for which that town and those people will forever be known. Thus it is with the little town of Goliad, Texas and the battle cry, “Remember Goliad!”
It is also a wise town and a wise populace who understand marketing the heritage tourism that wants to follow these events (horrible or wonderful) and who will then capitalize on the events as a way to solicit tourists…and their dollars, of course.
This past week, Rickey and I made the long trek to Goliad, Texas (population 1,076), not to see a football game, not to experience fine dining, not to do a lot of shopping, and certainly not to rest inside a beautiful hotel.* No, we traveled to Goliad because we wanted to see, to better understand, to KNOW as much as we could about those long ago Texians who gave their lives there at the Presidio la Bahia…Goliad. Obviously, we were not the only ones who were interested since others also came…by the thousands.
The following photos will show exactly why we think it is worth your time to attend. In some ways, it seems a bit crass, I suppose. After all, lives were lost here, brutally lost. On the other hand, history that is not studied and understood is doomed to repeat itself. And on yet one more hand, heritage tourism has turned into big business for struggling economies in this country.
The next series of photos will give you a tiny glimpse of the living history that takes place inside the old fort.
Up until this point, the day was great, and I think everyone should attend; however, if you have to pick and choose, the segments that you just cannot miss begin at 8:30 Saturday night when the last scheduled candle light tour begins. I could not use my camera so you are going to have to trust me when I tell you that this tour is superb!
The events on Sunday are the climax to the entire weekend. The day begins with one of the few prisoners to escape execution who tells his story. The story of that Palm Sunday, March 27, 1836. And then…
Of course, the reason for the monument is something that Texans who know their history understand. After the Texians were executed, many of their remains were left lying on the ground at the mercy of the elements and worse.
Those remains lay there until June 3 when General Thomas J. Rusk passed through Goliad and found them. The general had what was left of the bodies gathered up and buried in a common grave…with full military honors. Today, the Fannin Memorial Monument stands guard over that common grave.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Presidio la Bahia remembers the historical events that most of us simply call Goliad. It is also heritage tourism at its best.*Of course, the coffers of Goliad now owns quite a few of our dollars because we bought a few things, ate several meals, spent a few nights in a motel, bought gas, etc.