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ALAMO - Does one know why the Star-Spangled Banner is sung at professional baseball games? Who knows how Union Commander Philip Sheridan observations in the Rio Grande Valley at Fort Duncan in Laredo, Texas in 1852-53 would be useful later during the Civil War? And are people aware of the resurgence of the Karankawa Indians thought to be extinct in Texas since the 1850s? Those were a few of the topics covered during the South Texas Historical Association (STHA) symposium hosted by the City of Alamo Museum Nov. 1-2, which became international in drawing professors, historians, scholars from the region including from across the border. The national anthem, according to Rene Torres, from Texas A&M Kingsville, was first played during a 1918 World Series game between the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox. A U.S. Marine band was at the game and during the 7th inning stretch began the song. Part way through a Marine recruit began to sing the words and the crowd joined in, ending with great applause. The retired professor said the idea eventually caught on with other teams and is now part of baseball tradition. In looking at the roots of baseball in the RGV, his talk touched on the name Henry Smith, the first player from the Valley to play in the majors, which lasted just one year, along with the history of cross border baseball, followed by women’s fast pitch softball during World War II as entertainment and then on to Little League of more than 60 years. Kenneth Howell explained what General Philip Sheridan experienced during his time on the border following graduation from West Point that allowed seeing the culture, the topography and nature observations. The scholar and author noted the time provided him with information for future missions. While many have written off the Karankawa Indians as no longer existing, Enrique Gonzales provided lining proof it is not so. The retired government worker and historian who grew up in Alamo going through the public schools, is a full-blooded Karankawan. Gonzales embodies the characteristics of this tribe as tall and slender at 6 foot, 2 inches in height, and being taller than his father by age 12. With his tall son and daughter present, he offered a family history, which included his service in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 2005. Carol Scogin Brincefield, STHA president, commented that the need to change the history of the Karankawa ...

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