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Texas Historical Commission Rejects Cenotaph Relocation

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The Texas Historical Commission voted against a permit request from the City of San Antonio regarding relocating and restoring the Alamo Cenotaph, also known as “Spirit of Sacrifice,” a monument commemorating the Battle of the Alamo, during a virtual meeting Tuesday. The relocation of the monument was part of a planned renovation project for the Alamo battlefield site. The plans included moving the monument from its current location within the historical footprint of the Alamo to a new location further south, just outside of the historical footprint of the mission. This had led the location of the cenotaph to become a point of contention regarding the renovation plans, with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, several state legislators, and hundreds of members of the public testifying during the meeting.

Supporters of the proposed relocation argued that the current location of the monument crowds the Alamo Plaza and outsizes the surviving buildings of the Alamo. They also argued that the new planned location would allow it to be well lit and no longer concealed by trees. They also pointed out that the new location, while not inside the historical footprint, is still on the site of the battleground, similar to monuments for other forts. Several supporters also argued that restoration of the monument requires relocation.

Opponents of the relocation argued that the proper location for the monument is within the footprint of the Alamo, as the fighters the monument commemorates died within the monument. Many of those who testified against the relocation referred to the popular “Not One Inch” slogan used by activists opposing the relocation.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, in a video statement released ahead of the meeting, said that “if moved outside the walls of the battlefield, it would be unprotected from the damage or desecration that unfortunately has become all too common in this day and age.” During the meeting, he expressed interest in having the state legislature directly fund the project. Patrick also mentioned the possibility of reaching out to President Trump about relocating the federal courthouse to the north of the site so that a fuller restoration of the site could be done. Patrick wrapped up his comments by urging the commission to “not rush into something today.” Also testifying against the relocation were State Senator Bob Hall and State Representatives Steve Toth and Mayes Middleton.

The final vote, which was on a motion for both the restoration and relocation of the monument, failed with twelve voting against, two voting for, and one abstaining. Commission Chair John L. Nau III, who voted against the motion, expressed interest in working with the City of San Antonio about the possibility of approving a separate permit focusing only on restoring the monument. 

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