The clock is ticking in San Antonio to put the brakes on one of the most heinous aspects of the once-dubbed ‘Reimagine the Alamo’ fiasco: the removal of the Alamo Cenotaph from Alamo Plaza.

Last year, the plan got the green light from the City of San Antonio. The architects of this plan are salivating at the prospect of re-writing history. And that’s exactly how millions of us see the removal of the Cenotaph. So, what exactly is the Cenotaph and why is moving it stirring such emotion and anger?

David R Tribble
The Alamo Cenotaph - photo: David R Tribble

The Alamo Cenotaph is a statue (officially named ‘Spirit of Sacrifice’), commissioned in 1936 from sculptor Pompeo Coppini and officially dedicated in 1940. It commemorates the men who gave their lives in the 13-day siege against them led by a blood-thirsty tyrant-Mexican Gen. Santa Anna. On the final day of the siege, March 6, 1836, the north wall of the Alamo was breached and the Alamo defenders were forced to retreat to the long barracks. These 185 men, all of whom had a chance to leave two weeks earlier, remained, fought and died so that I, and millions of others, could one day call Texas our home. Many historians believe at least a handful of the Alamo defenders were captured alive and were likely tortured, shot and bayonetted by their Mexican captors, their bodies burned and desecrated.

The Alamo Cenotaph was built to honor their memory and their sacrifice, to stand in the Alamo Plaza, on a portion of the very ground they fought to defend. And now, Texas General Land Commissioner George P. Bush, along with members of the San Antonio City Council, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the Alamo Plaza Advisory Committee, have conspired to remove the statue from this place of reverence to a location some 500 feet away near the Menger Hotel outside the Alamo Plaza’s footprint.

The political insiders pushing this nonsense say it’s for the good of the monument itself. The ravages of time are taking a toll on the steel framework and even the marble statue itself. While this is true, the risk of destroying the monument in a move is far greater than just restoring it where it sits. So why take the chance? The only logical reason goes the heart of the original plans of the ‘Reimagine the Alamo’ plan itself: they are trying to re-write history.

The only part of the history of the Alamo that matters, that really matters, is the 1836 battle. Nothing else that happened there before or after is of any real historical significance to anyone, anywhere. Can you name anything that occurred on that site other than the battle? No. Why? In its entire 300-year history, the single, defining event on that site was the battle that changed history, the battle that brought us to where we are today. Those ’13 days of glory’ bought precious time for Gen. Sam Houston and his army to prepare. News of the slaughter of the Alamo defenders at the hands of the Mexicans also inspired the Texas revolutionaries to fight that much harder, with a determination that inspires patriotism in Texans of all ages to this day.

This is why those who wish to remove the Cenotaph and to ‘reimagine’ the Alamo are so hell-bent on this plan. There are those who most certainly do not like the fact that so much glory is poured upon those died in defense of freedom for Texas, and the aggression of Santa Anna’s regime is painted in the negative light it earned. This is a whitewashing of history, plain and simple. It’s an attempt to pull the focus away from the battle, from the fight for impendence and against tyranny, and to remove a piece of our heritage, earned with blood, literally and figuratively.  Somehow, we have to stop this madness before it goes any further.

One of the things you and I can do, starting right now, is to reach out to members of the Texas Senate Finance Committee and plead with them to pull the funding from this project. Below is a list of members of the committee members and their telephone numbers, both in Austin and their respective districts. Please make the calls. Share this with your friends and neighbors and ask them to make calls as well. If we do nothing, this monument to Texas heroes will most likely be pushed off the hallowed grounds and perhaps completely destroyed.

Texas Senate Finance Committee
Sen. Jane Nelson
Austin: 512-463-0112
District Office: 817, 424-3446

Sen. Juan Hinojosa
Austin: 512-463-0120,
District Office: 956-972-1841

Sen. Paul Bettencourt
Austin: 512-463-0107
District Office: 713-464-0282

Sen. Brian Birdwell
Austin: 512-463-0122
District Office: 254-772-6225

Sen. Donna Campbell
Austin: 512-463-0125
District Office: 210-979-0013

Sen. Kelly Hancock
Austin: 512-463-0109
District Office: 817-514-3804

Sen. Joan Huffman
Austin: 512-463-0117
District Office: 281-980-3500

Sen. Lois W. Kolkhorst
Austin: 512-463-0118
District Office: 979-251-7888

Sen. Robert Nichols
Austin: 512-463-0103
District Office: 903-589-3003

Sen. Charles Schwertner
Austin: 512-463-0105
District Office: 979-776-0222

Sen. Kel Seliger
Austin: 512-463-0131
District Office: 806-374-8994

Sen. Larry Taylor
Austin:  512-463-0111
District Office: 281-485-9804

Sen. Kirk Watson
Austin: 512-463-0114
District Office: 512-463-0114

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