Citizens from across the Lone Star rallied at the grounds of the Alamo in San Antonio on Saturday in the face of proposals to move the Alamo Cenotaph as part of a plan to renovate large swaths of the Alamo battlefield.
Commissioned on the centennial anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo, the Cenotaph serves as a tombstone for the men who gave their lives in the fight for Texas independence at the storied site.
Organizers of the rally, including This is Texas Freedom Force and the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association, addressed the crowd, leading chants of “not one inch” while underscoring that the fight to save the monument “means everything to Texas.”
State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R–Fredericksburg) also briefly addressed the rally, vowing to work with other legislators and do everything in his power to “put pressure on the GLO and George P. Bush” in order to protect the site. Earlier this year, Biedermann wrote a letter to the City of San Antonio urging them to keep the Cenotaph where it is, adding that it should be considered as “sacred ground where it stands today and not in any other location.”
“This shrine right here is the reason we have independence, that we have the state of Texas, and that we are the greatest state of this nation and we’re going to keep it that way,” Biedermann told the crowd.
Republican Party of Texas Vice Chairman Alma Perez-Jackson was also in attendance. In June, grassroots activists passed a plank during the Texas GOP convention opposing the plan to “reimagine” the Alamo headed by Land Commissioner George P. Bush, stating, “We believe the Alamo should be remembered and not ‘reimagined,’” and adding, “Specific protection shall be afforded the site, including all land and existing monuments, including the Cenotaph, which SHALL NOT be moved from its present site.” (emphasis in original)
Ray Myers, who served as the chairman of the state affairs platform subcommittee during the convention, referred to the resolution as his “number one plank out of hundreds.”
“When it was over, we had 5,650 delegates vote [against moving the monument],” Myers told the crowd.
“391 said ‘we don’t know.’ This is Texas and by God they need to know,” he added.
Indeed, the plan for restoration and renovation of the Alamo site has gone through many changes since it was originally unveiled several years ago.
Original plans suggested moving the Alamo Cenotaph away from the historic site of the Alamo. Its ultimate landing spot was not defined, but there was a suggestion that it could be placed as far away as a site near the San Antonio Convention Center.
The most recent iteration of the plan, however, has the Cenotaph monument being relocated to an area just outside the historical walls of the Alamo in front of the Menger Hotel. Those promoting the current plan defend it, arguing that it sufficiently honors the cenotaph while allowing renovations to clear and reclaim much of the historic footprint of the Alamo battleground.
The renovations are part of a $450 million plan to reclaim portions of the Alamo battlefield that are currently covered by existing buildings and city streets. The plan would include building a museum to house hundreds of artifacts gifted to the state of Texas by musician and collector Phil Collins.
Still, many activists, such as Maggie Wright of Burleson, say they would rather not see the monument move at all.
“We are going to stand and we are asking all Texans to stand with the Alamo defenders,” Wright implored those in attendance.
The San Antonio city council is continuing to hold hearings on the Alamo renovation project, including on the fate of the Cenotaph. Those at the rally say they will continue to attend and make their voices heard.