There is the land—more than 268 million square miles of it—a land rich with natural resources, abundant, life-giving waters and a wonderful diversity of wildlife. Protecting these resources for present and future generations of Texans is something that the Texas General Land Office Commissioner must regard as a sacred trust.
Equally important is the heritage of freedom with which we are blessed. Freedom won by the blood of heroes whose names still inspire us today—Travis, Crockett, Bowie, Houston, Seguin, Zavala and so many more.
The battlefields on which those Texans fought are also a sacred trust—a trust we hold not only for Texans but for all Americans. Gonzales, Goliad, and San Jacinto are as dear to freedom-loving Americans as Lexington, Saratoga, and Yorktown. And the crown jewel of our heritage of freedom is the Alamo.
Today our heritage is threatened like never before. For decades political extremists who despise Texas and all the good things Texas stands for have waged a relentless campaign of lies and vilification against men and women who risked all, and in many cases, sacrificed all so that we can live in freedom today. These far-left fanatics demand that the cultural symbols of our heritage—the flags for which brave Texans fought and died be banned, their statues and monuments be destroyed, and the very names of Texas heroes be stricken from schools, highways, parks—you name it.
Perhaps the saddest part of all is that those officials who are responsible for defending and preserving our heritage are caving in to political correctness, a polite term for the undisguised hatred of our heritage and our heritage shrines—the Alamo in particular. They want to "reimagine the Alamo." In effect they want to change the subject, to take the focus off the 1836 fight for Texas Independence, trivialize its importance, and, they hope, somehow, appease the far-left fanatics who only grow bolder when their outrageous demands are met.
This situation is specifically demonstrated by Land Commissioner George P. Bush’s misguided and incompetent stewardship of the Alamo.
Many of you are not aware of this, but current Land Commissioner Bush is foisting upon the public a plan entitled “REIMAGINE THE ALAMO” which, if enacted, will destroy the Alamo as we know it.
For one thing, the plan intends to greatly diminish the role played by the Battle itself. In the words of Bush’s Master Planner, George Skarmeas, “We cannot single out one moment in time.”
The iconic memorial to the Defenders, the Cenotaph, has stood in the middle of Alamo Plaza since Texas’s Centennial in 1936. This memorial is engraved with the names of the actual Defenders. To further their efforts to downplay the Battle, the planners (all non-Texans by the way) intend to remove the Cenotaph to a site secluded by new condominiums located several blocks away and completely off of the Alamo property.
In addition, the plan will rebuild the original plaza walls that surrounded the fort using modern-day see-through German structural glass rather than the original limestone. Instead of a hallowed battleground, the effect will be that of a Disney-style theme park. These are just a few of the major flaws contained in this scheme. There are many others.
But these are not the only troubling issues with Bush’s plan. In support of this effort, the Texas Legislature just in the last two sessions has appropriated over $100 million for its implementation. The planners project that it will end up costing an additional $350 million.
Most concerning, every penny of the money appropriated thus far, as well as its expenditure, has been totally hidden from public view by the use of nonprofit 501c3 accounts. Freedom of Information Act requests for an accounting of the money have been stonewalled to the point that it has become necessary to file appeals to the Office of the State Attorney General.
This is not open and accountable government. The Texas General Land Office, and especially the Alamo, deserve much better. Texas needs a Land Commissioner who is not ashamed of the Alamo or the heritage of freedom it represents. It needs a Land Commissioner who will treat the Alamo with the respect and dignity it deserves. It needs a Land Commissioner who will be transparent, accountable, and responsible with taxpayers’ money. It needs a Land Commissioner who will institute a plan that properly restores the Alamo while honoring its true significance and at an exponentially lower cost.
This time, Texans must not stand complacently by and allow a second tragedy to befall the Alamo. Together we can and must save the Alamo.
Following are additional detrimental elements of the REIMAGINE THE ALAMO Master Plan.
* George P Bush has already thrown out the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and other heritage groups from having their ceremonies honoring the Defenders inside the Alamo Church. They are now having to conduct them outside literally in the street.
* The current plan includes placing a “First Amendment Area” at the Alamo in order for the far-left radicals to spout their revisionist and seditious proclamations.
* The current plan will place a tree-lined ditch of flowing water coursing through the middle of the Alamo Main Plaza. This feature is completely inappropriate and inaccurate, and no such feature ever existed in this location either during the mission period or at the time of the Battle.
* The plan would place the “North Wall” over 50 yards south of its correct location and thus still give visitors an inaccurate impression of the size of the original Alamo compound.
* The plan does not include rebuilding any of the Alamo Battle- or mission-era structures as has been done at most major historical sites throughout the United States—not even in locations at the Alamo where this would be possible. The necessary information and data are available to do this accurately, contrary to the claims of Bush’s planners.
* The plan envisions the construction of a four-story museum; however, all Battle artifacts would be confined to the basement. In addition, all visitors would be charged an entry fee to visit the museum.
* Under the new plan, the iconic site will no longer be referred to as the Alamo. Instead it will be known as the San Antonio de Valero mission.
* All complaints against this plan by well-respected Alamo historians, virtually all heritage groups, and multitudes of Texas citizens have been totally ignored and rebuffed by Bush and his planners. This plan was conceived with absolutely no consultation with any of the recognized Alamo experts. Thank you and please feel free to call me if I can provide any additional information that would be helpful.
For a visual depiction of what the REIMAGINE THE ALAMO Master Plan would actually look like, as proposed, visit here.
A better and less costly alternative was previously offered and ignored by Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. View this in order to see the
dramatic contrast a more practical plan would make.