When it comes to the Alamo, the focus must be 1836.
When asked, “Why not restore the Alamo to its 1836 appearance?”, George Skarmeas, Chief Planner of the General Land Office, always responded, “The events of 1836 were just 1 small chapter in 10,000 years of history.” How absurd.
The Alamo exists today solely because of what happened in 1836. Absent the siege, the iconic symbol of not just Texas liberty but also liberty everywhere would not exist.
We don’t need and shouldn’t seek advice or approval from any entity outside of Texas.
Decisions related to the Alamo should be made by the state agency in charge: the Texas General Land Office. Because much of the original 1836 Alamo footprint is on city property, the City of San Antonio will have a say as well. The National Park Service, UNESCO, or the World Heritage Organization will have no influence on what Texans do with their Alamo when I am Commissioner.
Texans want elected officials held accountable – not their surrogates or their nonprofit organizations.
Seemingly, Commissioner Bush delegated his responsibilities to surrogates. Gene Powell, a Commissioner Bush appointee to the Alamo Endowment Board, and George Skarmeas’ firm were in charge of – or at least the face of – all things Alamo.
The Bush General Land Office created two mysterious nonprofits: the Alamo Trust and the Remember the Alamo Foundation. All have refused to comply with open records requests.
Recently the State Republican Executive Committee voted 57 to 1 to demand transparency at the Alamo. We deserve our elected officials – not their surrogates – to explain, defend, and be accountable.
The Alamo is not art nor is it a park.
The Reimagine plan glass wall is architecturally stunning. Problem is I don’t want to be stunned, I want to be inspired. I want to be humbled by how little I have done for liberty when compared to those who have gone before.
When the Travis “Victory or Death” letter returned to the Alamo in 2013 for the first time since 1836, visitors waited for up to six hours to enter the darkened chapel and view the letter. When they exited, they were inspired and even tearful. We must create that inspiring environment – without glass walls.
We need a restoration of the Alamo as close to its original footprint and appearance as reasonable. Complete restoration is not possible – the federal building is permanent although possibly could be an outstanding museum and visitor center. The hump on the Alamo façade and the roof will remain. Leaving the Cenotaph in its original 1940 location is far better than relocating several blocks away and out of sight of the Alamo.
We have one chance to get this right: that chance occurs now. Texas must create a place of reverence, remembrance, and respect – nothing should be “Reimagined”.
Demand that 1836 be the entry point to telling the entire story of the Alamo. Insist the Cenotaph not be moved away from the Alamo.
Honor those who died there.
For the Alamo. For Texas.
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