An Alamo that speaks to history
On Feb. 24, 1836, Lt. Col. William Barret Travis commanded the besieged Alamo. He wrote a brief letter calling for reinforcement of his small force of Texians and Tejanos. His stirring call to aid the Alamo echoes today, and it is Texans’ duty and our honor to answer it at last.
As Texas Land commissioner and San Antonio mayor, we have signed a joint resolution agreeing in principle with the Alamo master plan as presented by the management committee. Renovating and upgrading the Alamo and surrounding area into a world-class historical site is, Texans agree, long overdue.
From its founding as Mission San Antonio de Valero in 1718 to the 1836 battle and today, the Alamo is the beating heart of San Antonio and Texas. But until 2015, the state of Texas and city of San Antonio did not work together for the Alamo’s benefit. This changed when the Texas General Land Office and the city of San Antonio entered into an historic cooperative agreement to create a joint master plan to honor the Alamo.
The Texas Legislature, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and legislators from both parties backed this plan through historic legislation and funding.
As a proper reverence for history requires, the process that developed the master plan was deliberate, considerate and conducted under the bright light of public scrutiny. After three years, countless committee meetings, scores of public and stakeholder meetings, and many events and presentations across the state, we have a plan that restores and protects the Alamo.
This plan builds the Alamo the museum it deserves. And this plan restores honor and reverence to what is the most sacred site in the city and the Lone Star State.
This plan is the opportunity of a lifetime. It appropriately honors our fallen Texian and Tejano heroes whose valor and ultimate sacrifice paved the way for a free and independent Texas. It tells the full story of the Alamo’s history.
And while those 13 days in 1836 are certainly at the forefront, fidelity to history requires we remember all 300 years of the Alamo’s history. The establishment of the mission, the plaza’s role in San Antonio’s political and civil rights history, and the lives of those Indians and Christians buried beneath will all be included.
And it retains Alamo Plaza as a free and open gathering place.
We can all be proud of this day and this partnership. In the years to come, we will see the Alamo’s historic mission footprint and battlefield with our own eyes for the first time.
We will see a premiere museum born, which will enable the Alamo to tell its amazing story more completely than ever before, from its mission origins to Jose Toribio Losoya’s home and the 18-pounder platform, to the south gate and to the north wall.
We will see a new flourishing of Texas history research and archaeology. The Alamo’s historic footprint, and the entire area around it, will remain the heart of San Antonio and become the jewel of Texas. In this effort to honor history, we all will make history.
The master plan we approved this week appropriately, respectfully and reverently honors those brave souls whose blood stains the soil beneath Alamo Plaza and offers all who visit the experience merited by its history.
Alamo defender David Crockett said, “Let your tongue speak what your heart thinks.”
Today let all Texans speak with one voice as we rise up and take on the incredible challenge and opportunity of preserving our past to ensure our future.
All Texans and all who love liberty throughout the world will today and forever “Remember The Alamo!”
Ron Nirenberg is mayor of San Antonio. George P. Bush is commissioner of the Texas General Land Office.