— Guest Columnist Megan Barth —
“Heroes died here fighting for freedom. Travis… Bowie… Crockett… Esparza. Their call for aid and refusal to surrender in the face of overwhelming odds stirred America and the world. Their sacrifice helped give birth to Texas.”
Is the Alamo really going politically correct? No! Is the UN taking over the Alamo? No! Is the Alamo’s name going to be changed? Seriously? No! Did Phil Collins amass one of the largest collection of Alamo history and promise to donate it to the future Alamo museum? Yes!
On March 6, 1836, 189 Texans and Tejanos gave their lives at the Alamo for Texas liberty. Their sacrifice deserves reverence and honor. Since 2011, the Texas General Land Office manages and preserves the Alamo on behalf of the people of Texas. The GLO and the city of San Antonio are working together in a historic effort to restore the Alamo, recapture the 1836 battlefield, and reinforce the Alamo’s amazing story of sacrifice and heroism.
Leading the restoration and preservation efforts is Brian Preston, a veteran, 5th generation Texan, spokesman for George P. Bush and communications director for the Texas General Land Office. It has been his mission to reimagine the Alamo by preserving and recreating the experience for tourists and Texans and has promised that Texans will lead the second battle for it’s preservation and redesign.
The genesis of this project began with Genesis! In 2014, Phil Collins made a massive donation of several million dollars in his private collection of Alamo and Texas state history–with a stipulation that his artifacts must be preserved, protected and displayed in a new museum. The deadline for significant progress is 2024.
This progress will include:
Restoration of the Church and Long Barracks.
Clarity and order through the delineation of the historic footprint.
Recapture the Historic Mission Plaza and create a sense of reverence and respect on the historic battlefield.
Repurpose the Crockett, Woolworth and Palace buildings into a world-class visitor center and museum that tells the story of the Battle of the Alamo and over 300 years of layered history.
Create a sense of arrival to the site and enhance connectivity between the site and other public spaces.
One of the controversies of this redesign is the Cenotaph. Cenotaph means “empty tomb.” It is the 60-foot high granite and marble structure that stands on Alamo Plaza just west of the Long Barrack. The Cenotaph was built as a monument to the Alamo Defenders, whose bodies were burned south and east of the fort after the battle. It was commissioned in 1936 for the Texas Centennial and finished in 1940. The Cenotaph was placed on the 1836 Battlefield, but its placement there does not mark any specific event or moment of the battle. The City of San Antonio owns the Cenotaph and plans to repair and restore the monument, as well as add the names of additional defenders who were unknown when the Cenotaph was erected in 1940. Discussion is ongoing about where the Cenotaph will be located once restoration work is complete. One idea is to relocate the Cenotaph to the location of one of the funeral pyres, which would serve to restore the 1836 battlefield footprint and to properly honor the location where the defenders’ bodies were burned. Evidence indicates that two of the funeral pyres were located near St. Joseph Church on Commerce Street, and the third was some distance east of the Alamo’s church. While the City of San Antonio has made no final decision on the Cenotaph’s future location, what is certain is the monument will be repaired, and it will always stand to honor the Alamo Defenders.
As Commissioner of the GLO, George P. Bush stated:
“David Crockett gave his life here. He once said a simple thing that revealed much about his character. Crockett said, “Let your tongue speak what your heart thinks.” My heart thinks there is no greater symbol of Texas than what you see here. There is no greater honor than to reinforce this place and tell its story. There is one name above others that echoes around the world, speaking courage and liberty to all who hear it – and that name is the Alamo.”
Megan Barth, is the Founder and Proprietor of ReaganBabe.com, and a nationally recognized political commentator and women’s advocate.