SAN ANTONIO - It has been 181 years since the Alamo fell to Mexican forces, and Bud Northington isn't just dressed up to re-enact history. He's a descendent of one of the soldiers who died during the siege.

"It's very important for me to remember," he said. That's because his relative was a defender of the Alamo.

Those defenders were remembered throughout the day Monday by the "Alamo Living Historians," a group of volunteers that host visitors.

Mary Northington played her fiddle to kick off a public ceremony with a song called "Winds of the Alamo" by K.R. Woods.

Jeffery Operman also portrayed a defender.

"If you have Texas history in your heart, this is where you are every March 6," he said.

In 1836, Mexican forces commanded by Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna began a siege of the fort.

The Alamo held out for 13 days before the outer wall was overpowered. Monday's events symbolized that.

"They fired muskets here at dawn," said Mary. "There was a candle light procession with 13 women for 13 days of the fall."

"It's very emotional," said Operman. "You understand what they fought for and their legacy."