The future of “The Alamo Cenotaph” uncertain

By Stacey Doud

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The Alamo Cenotaph (Photo: Wikipedia)

In early 2017, the San Antonio City Council proposed the relocation of the historic Alamo Cenotaph, which would be part of the, “Alamo Master Plan, which calls for a major makeover of the plaza and relocation of the granite Cenotaph — possibly to a small park by Market Street, near a site where Alamo defenders’ bodies are said to have been burned.” [Source: MySanAntonio.com]

This Master Plan would eliminate many tourist destinations, such as Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, which many believe cheapens the Alamo’s historical significance.

Since, then, numerous protests and rallies have been held by various groups and private citizens wanting the historic monument to stay right where it is.

“This sits in in the correct spot,” said Lee Spencer White, president of the Alamo Defenders Descendants Association, which organized a rally in April, 2017. “Why would you think it needs to go to a funeral pyre site? This is an empty tomb. It’s commemorating the defenders. I don’t want it moved an inch. It’s right where it needs to be.” [Source: MySanAntonio.com]

HISTORY OF THE CENOTAPH: Although there had been previous plans for Alamo monuments starting in the late 1800s, the Alamo Cenotaph was the first such erected in San Antonio. During the 1936 Texas Centennial celebration, the state of Texas provided $100,000 for the monument, commissioned from local sculptor Pompeo Coppini. San Antonio Mayor Maury Maverick held a dedication ceremony on November 11, 1940.

The shaft rises sixty feet from its base and is forty feet long and twelve feet wide. The monument was erected in grey Georgia marble and pink Texas granite. It was entitled The Spirit of Sacrifice and incorporates images of the Alamo garrison leaders and 187 names of known Alamo defenders, derived from the research of historian Amelia Williams. [Source: Wikipedia]

THE LATEST: According to TheAlamo.org, “The City of San Antonio owns the cenotaph and plans to repair and restore the monument, as well as add the names of additional defenders who were unknown when the cenotaph was erected in 1939. Discussion is ongoing about where the cenotaph will be located once restoration work is complete. One idea is to relocate the cenotaph (which means “empty tomb”) to the location of one of the funeral pyres, which would serve to restore the 1836 battlefield footprint and to properly honor the location where the defenders’ bodies were burned. Evidence indicates that two of the funeral pyres were located near St. Joseph Church on Commerce Street, and the third was some distance east of the Alamo’s church. While the City of San Antonio has made no final decision on the cenotaph’s future location, what is certain is the monument will be repaired, and it will always stand to honor the Alamo Defenders.”

Where the Cenotaph will land, no one knows, but it will always stand as a reminder of the hard work and sacrifice of the Alamo Defenders. As Texans, we will always, “Remember the Alamo!”

For more information, visit TheAlamo.org.

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