A ceremony marking the 177th anniversary of the battle for Texas independence took on added significance this year because of a single letter on display inside the Alamo.
More than 1,000 people withstood near-freezing temperatures Wednesday morning in San Antonio for the annual Dawn at the Alamo observance.
It's the first time the observance was held with Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis' famed "Victory or Death" letter sheltered in the shrine.
The fragile, fading letter is on public display until Thursday. It was written by the 26-year-old Travis as some 1,500 Mexican forces prepared to lay siege to the mission-fortress. His plea for reinforcements to bolster his badly outnumbered rebel Texans failed to prevent their deaths nearly two weeks later on March 6th, 1836.