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Re-enactment displays historic message (video)

By chirst
March 23, 2013 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated March 23, 2013 at 10:24 p.m.

Jesse Glover, 15, wrestles with Ethan Gambino, 17, as Gambino tries to escape while being escorted at the Presidio La Bahia as a prisoner after the re-enactment of the Battle of Coleto Creek during the 28th annual Goliad Massacre Living History Program on Saturday at the Presidio La Bahia. The battle was where Col. James Fannin's Texians surrendered to Mexican forces.

A lone butterfly fluttered around the yellow daisies, landing on one flower and then another.

The sun shown brightly over a green pasture, broadcasting the start of spring.

The day was peaceful, but the peace was shattered in an instant by a deafening blast of cannon fire and billowing smoke.

The Battle of Coleto Creek at the Presidio La Bahia in Goliad began with screams - startled screams from the crowd sitting on the hill.

The 28th annual Goliad Massacre Living History Program was off to a realistic start Saturday, said Presidio La Bahia Director Newton M. Warzecha, aside from the thousands of spectators on the hill.

"Unfortunately in the world we live in today, people don't remember history very well. And if you don't remember it, you are going to go through it again," he warned. "People need to remember the Santa Annas so they don't put themselves in a position where they can be controlled."

When Warzecha came to La Bahia in 1991, he said the re-enactment attracted about 800 visitors.

Now, he said they average about 4,500 throughout the weekend.

Abigail Falksen, 16, came from Dallas for the re-enactment with her family.

Camping in Goliad State Park for the weekend, Abigail watched the show from the front row, sketching horses and cavalrymen as the battle unfolded below her.

"It makes me proud to be a Texan," she said, the sounds of shots fired and men lying still on the ground a stark reminder of the sacrifices of those who came before.

Andrew Strybos, 27, a cavalry re-enactor from College Station, said the men and women fighting in the battle are volunteers providing all of their own equipment.

To participate in the cavalry, Strybos said, they pay a minimum of $5,000, buying horses, equipment and costumes.

But it is all worth it, he said.

"You can't get this in school, a movie or in a book. Here, you hear the horses and the cannon fire. You can see and smell the smoke," Strybos said, dressed as a Texian soldier in wool pants and a plaid green vest. "We are all dedicated history buffs. We research our uniforms and equipment to be as accurate as we can, so we can share it with the public."

Sunday, when the Texians are "executed" by the Mexican soldiers, Strybos will have switched sides in the history game, playing the part of a Mexican cavalry man.

But for the 342 Texians killed in 1836, the battle was no game. They were men sacrificing their lives so Texans could be free.



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