Tomorrow at noon, the company I work for will cut us loose for a three-day-weekend that unofficially marks the beginning of summer. Officially, it’s Memorial Day weekend in the US, a weekend when we honor the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to this country. It might be more about picnics and travel and golf, these days, but I always try to set aside some time to remember why we have Monday off. With that official meaning in mind, I saved today’s doors from my visit to San Antonio.
The second day I was in San Antonio, I had a couple of hours free in the morning. I decided to walk around and see some of the sights we floated under on the barge tour. One of the buildings I spent some time studying was the Cathedral of San Fernando, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Candelaria and Guadalupe. At first I thought it might be a good place to collect a few photos of doors. As I got closer, I realized this cathedral was much more important. I also saw a sign that made me smile – “Visitors Welcome.” Below is some interesting history (adapted from Wikipedia).
The original church of San Fernando was built between 1738 and 1750. The walls of that church form the sanctuary of today’s cathedral, which supports the claim of being the oldest cathedral in the State of Texas. The church was named for Ferdinand III of Castile, who ruled in the 13th century. The baptismal font, believed to be a gift from Charles III, who became King of Spain from 1759, is the oldest piece of liturgical furnishing in the cathedral. The cathedral was built by settlers from the Canary Islands, for this reason, in the interior is a picture of the Virgin of Candelaria, the patroness of the Canary Islands.
In 1836, the cathedral, still a parish church, played a role in the Battle of the Alamo when Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna hoisted a flag of “no quarter” from the church’s tower, marking the beginning of the siege.
On September 13, 1987, Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral during the only papal visit to Texas.
The cathedral is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, but unfortunately, the records have not yet been digitized.
The cathedral is remarkable for so many reasons, but I thought I would post the photos in proximity to Memorial Day because of a special artifact housed in the left entrance. There is a tomb that states it is the final resting place of Davy Crockett, William B. Travis, Jim Bowie and the other defenders of the Alamo.
The legitimacy of this claim is questionable, for a variety of reasons so, for today, I’m going to simply acknowledge the existence of the tomb and leave it at that.
The battle of the Alamo preceded the earliest recorded official decoration of a soldier’s grave – the practice that gave rise to Decoration Day, which later became Memorial Day. And, in fact, there may have only been a mass grave near the Alamo, if anyone had desired to decorate it. Still, people have decorated the graves of the honored dead throughout time, so I think my purpose in including these facts about this cathedral is valid.
In keeping with the more solemn tone of Memorial Day, I’ll simply note that this post is part of the fun weekly blogfest known as Thursday Doors. The event is arranged and supported by Norm Frampton. If you would like to participate, or if you would like to view the doors presented by other participants, visit Norm’s wonderful photography site. Look at Norm’s doors and then look for the blue frog. Click the frog to enter the list of this week’s participants and the option to add your doors.
For my readers in the US, I will leave you with a quote by former President Harry S. Truman regarding the meaning behind the holiday we are about to celebrate:
“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” — Harry S. Truman