Few weeks ago I wrote about the Alamo and the controversy on somehow changing the look of Alamo Plaza to restore it to historic roots. The Council presented it as part of an estimated $450 million plan to redevelop the Alamo Plaza. The City Council conferred to decide how to improve a defined public space with the majority of vehicle traffic removed. May 11 last year they decided to have the Alamo Cenotaph in front of the Alamo in the 1930s be restored and relocated somewhere else. The reaction from numerous activist groups who attended a protest rally of well over 100 at the Cenotaph last Saturday, exploded! The Alamo Descendants Association, the Protectors of All Things Texas and This Is Texas Freedom Force, to name three, showed up. Various makeshift signs were waved at the rally as well.
The most popular sign was, “Don’t move the Cenotaph,” followed by “Remember the Alamo. Not reimagine.” Many local and state-wide residents, plus many from other places and numerous Alamo lovers around the country are really upset that the council not only wants to change the look of the Alamo but move the Cenotaph and alter it somewhat. To date the council has not proposed exactly how they plan to do that. Having covered some Citizens to Be Heard at City Council with This Is Texas Freedom Force, I heard grave concerns by those who spoke before the Council. At one session one of the spokesmen read a number of comments written by people who lived out of state who expressed their concern as well as some locals who could not attend the meeting. The Texas Republican Party Convention held here in San Antonio in mid-June showed a vote of 83 percent of the official delegates opposed the removal of the Cenotaph. When Land Commissioner George P. Bush spoke to the convention and mentioned the change for the Alamo, you could hear muffled boos in all parts of the session. Since I was there taking photos of the convention, I personally heard the boos. Remember that the Cenotaph is a monument commemorating the “Battle of the Alamo” and was fought at the nearby, Alamo Mission. It has also been called the “Spirit of Sacrifice.” The monument was erected in celebration of the battle that took place and bears the names of those known to have fought there on the Texas side besides Jim Bowie, and William B. Travis. I would point out some Hispanics who fought at the Alamo include: Juan Abamillo, José Arocha, Simon Arreola, Juan A. Badillo, Ansselmo Bergara, Cesario Carmona, Antonio Cruz y Arocha, Alexandro De la Garza, Lucio Enriques, Jose Gregorio Esparza, Manuel Flores, Antonio Fuentes, Galba Fuqua Ignacio Gurrea, Brigido Guerrero, Pedro Herrera, Damacio Jimenez, Andrés Nava, Jose Sebastian “Luciano” Pacheco, Eduardo Ramirez, Ambrosio Rodriguez, Guadalupe Rodriquez, Juan Seguin, Vicente Zepeda, to name just a few. The Alamo Descendants Association President Lee Spencer White created an online petition to say no to the anticipated changes. Change. org has 10 thousand signatures to date. Alamo Cenotaph was the first such erected in San Antonio, during the 1936 Texas Centennial celebration on November 11, 1940. Texas History reminds us of the famous “Battle of the Alamo” that was fought in 1836 from February 23rd to March 6th. Texas students in particular are taught in school that it was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. I later learned that historically in 19th-century Texas, the Alamo complex gradually was touted as a battle site rather than a former mission. We know the Texas Legislature purchased the land and buildings in the early part of the 20th century and designated the Alamo chapel as an official Texas State Shrine. Since there is more to come on this painful process, along with more citizens speaking out, “Remember the Alamo.” And as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”
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