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Honoring Veterans at the Alamo Research Center

November 11, 2014

On November 11, we marked Veteran’s Day as a moment to commemorate the heroes of our Armed Forces who have sacrificed so much for our country. Veteran’s Day originated as Armistice Day, the day that heralded of the end of the “Great War,” which became known as World War I.  In the UK and Europe, November 11 is Remembrance Day, a time to recall the sacrifices made by their own soldiers and those living on the home front during that conflict, which was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.”

Guests viewing panorama of Armistice Day Speech by Mayor Black, 1921. First Saturday at the Alamo, Alamo Research Center.

Guests viewing panorama of Armistice Day Speech by Mayor Black, 1921. First Saturday at the Alamo, Alamo Research Center.

The Alamo Research Center observed Veteran’s Day at our First Saturday exhibit last weekend with a small display of photographs from a 1919 parade as well as a unique panoramic image of a speech given by San Antonio Mayor Black in 1921. This panorama has provided us with a wonderful opportunity. We regularly put it on display during our exhibits, and Alamo Assistant Curator Ernesto Rodriguez noticed an interesting object one day. He recognized a banner hanging from the front of the Alamo Shrine as one that the Alamo has in its collection!

Banner flown during a commemoration ceremony at the Alamo, 1921

Banner flown during a commemoration ceremony at the Alamo, 1921. Alamo Collection.

This magnificent banner includes stars for each individual from Bexar County who lost his life during American involvement in World War I. One of the stars represents David B. Barkley, a young man from Bexar County who gave his life for his country. Barkley was a member of the 356th Infantry, Company A. He died while returning from an information-gathering mission into enemy lines. For his bravery, Barkley was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first person of Latino origin to receive it. He was also granted the privilege of laying in state in the Alamo Shrine. Only four other individuals have been extended that honor, and it has not happened since World War II.

Star of Medal of Honor winner David B. Barkley, the first Latino to receive the award.

Star of Medal of Honor winner David B. Barkley, the first Latino to receive the award.

During the exhibit, one of our visitors made a remarkable discovery. Mr. Tom Pressley noted that he had always been told that his great uncle, a soldier from Bexar County, died during service in World War I. Upon inspection of the banner, we located the star honoring 1st Lt. John Montgomery, who was killed on the first day of American combat at the Battle of St. Mihiel.

 

Tom Pressley pointing to the star honoring his great uncle, 1st Lt. John Montgomery.

Tom Pressley pointing to the star honoring his great uncle, 1st Lt. John Montgomery.

 

 

The entire staff of the Alamo Research Center would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation for the members of all branches of our Armed Forces.  Thank you for all you do!

 

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