Wednesday evening in San Antonio, grassroots citizens lined up to tell the San Antonio City Council to protect the Alamo Cenotaph amidst plans from local officials to relocate the historic monument.
“I’ve never known the Alamo without the Cenotaph,” said conservative activist Maggie Wright, who drove four hours from Burleson to offer her testimony to the council. “I do not want it moved one inch.”
This sentiment was shared by many of those who traveled to the council’s weekly “Citizens to be Heard” forum in order to voice their opposition to the council’s plan to move the Cenotaph for restoration and, possibly, to a different site altogether.
During the hearing, a representative from the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association read a letter from State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R–Fredericksburg) to the council members, echoing the sentiments of the activists present and stating that it should be considered as “sacred ground where it stands today and not in any other location.”
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, as noted in a prominent inscription on the monument’s base:
Erected in memory of the heroes who sacrificed their lives at the Alamo, March 6, 1836, in the defense of Texas. They chose never to surrender nor retreat; these brave hearts, with flag still proudly waving, perished in the flames of immortality that their high sacrifice might lead to the founding of this Texas.
But while the spirit of the Alamo continues to burn bright in the hearts of Texans, the legacy of the mission site itself has recently been called into question.
Land Commissioner George P. Bush has come under fire from members of the conservative grassroots for his “Reimagine the Alamo” initiative. While the General Land Office claims they are seeking to create an improved visitor experience, many activists are suspicious of the plan, and in a November interview with Texas Scorecard, Bush left some doubt as to his commitment to keep the Cenotaph in place, saying “will only move on my watch if it is in a more prominent and deferential position than where it is now.”
As the head of the GLO, Bush has called himself the “boss” of the project and indeed does have the ability to veto any part of the Alamo restoration project, though he has yet to indicate whether he would exercise that authority to protect the Cenotaph.
Neither Bush nor anyone from the GLO spoke in opposition to the council’s proposal at the meeting.
While no action was taken by the council at last night’s meeting, activists like Maggie Wright are turning up the heat, hoping to delay action by the city until the legislature reconvenes in January.
“This is the Republic of Texas Defenders War Memorial and I’m fighting for it…we are hoping we can get the Cenotaph saved until legislature meets again,” she said.