Commissioner George P. Bush and the Texas General Land Office are Faithfully Remembering the Alamo

The following article was written by Bryan Preston. Bryan Preston was born in Dallas and raised in Ellis County, Texas. A 5th generation Texan and veteran, Bryan worked on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, was co-founder of Hot Air with Michelle Malkin, produced the Laura Ingraham Show, and was editor-at-large for PJ Media before joining the Texas General Land Office. He has also written for National Review and American Thinker. At the GLO, he produced and co-wrote the Alamo’s exhibit on Bowie: Man – Knife – Legend. This exhibit is running at the Alamo through the end of 2017. To date, more than 500,000 have enjoyed this technologically ground-breaking look into the life and knife of Alamo hero Jim Bowie.

My name is Bryan Preston, and I am the communications director at the Texas General Land Office (GLO). We manage the Alamo on behalf of the people of Texas since 2011.

Some of you may remember me from Hot Air, PJ Media, or The Laura Ingraham Show.  I mention them only to establish that I'm a solid conservative.  I'm also a fifth-generation Texan and a veteran.

Managing the Alamo is one of our most sacred duties at the GLO.  Planning for its future is one of our critical missions.

Rest assured: the Alamo is in good hands.  But misinformation about the Alamo preservation project has gotten out well beyond reason over the past few months. Despite what you may have heard, there is no attempt to minimize the battle or inject any political correctness.  The battle is what makes the Alamo the Alamo.  March 6, 1836 is one of the days around which Texas history turns.  The other is April 21, 1836 – Sam Houston's shocking victory at San Jacinto.  

There is no attempt to change the Alamo's name.  That would be ludicrous.  But we have been accused of that. You may have heard that “reimagine the Alamo” means rewriting history. It does not, and never did. The word “reimagine” was invoked to invite Texans to hope for an Alamo with its battlefield reunified with the Church and Long Barrack, and clearly marked as it has not been for a century. The Alamo’s history is amazing, glorious, and it’s what makes Texas Texas. We would never attempt to rewrite it.

The fact is, we are striving to bring 1836 to life every single day at the Alamo. You will see that when you visit, and enjoy our living history program, our exhibits, and our improved battlefield tour.

The master plan that has been the target of much political abuse over the past few months will ensure that the Alamo is preserved, protected, and equipped to tell its unique story better than ever before.

The master plan that we have developed in partnership with the city of San Antonio and the Alamo Endowment calls for five things:

  1. Restoration of the Church and Long Barracks.
  2. Re-establishing clarity and order through the delineation of the historic (1836) footprint.
  3. Recapturing the Historic Mission Plaza and creating a sense of reverence and respect on the historic battlefield.
  4. Repurposing the Crockett, Woolworth, and Palace buildings into a world-class visitor center and museum that tells the story of the Battle of the Alamo and over 300 years of layered history.
  5. Creating a sense of arrival to the site and enhance connectivity between the site and other public spaces.

You may read more about the master plan, and see answers to some of the myths that have been spread about it, here.

Point 1 of the master plan is about preserving the 300-year-old Alamo Church and Long Barracks, which are the only structures that survive from the battle in 1836.  Points 2 and 3 discuss the Alamo battlefield.  That battlefield, where the heroic defenders bled and died for Texas, is currently under streets and sidewalks.  It is flanked by a carnival-like atmosphere that is disrespectful to the defenders.  Trucks and buses drive through it every day, sending vibrations through the ground that literally rattle the church apart bit by bit.  Point 4 is very exciting.  It's about the museum that will display and protect the incredible Phil Collins collection of Alamo and Texana artifacts.  When finished, the Alamo and this museum will be the largest exhibit in the world on the Texas Revolution.  Point 5 elevates the Alamo to the pinnacle of life in San Antonio, where it belongs.

And while there is a rich story to tell at the Alamo, the siege and battle of 1836 will always remain at the center of that story.  This has never been in doubt.  

To be sure, there are many details that have yet to be sorted out.  Despite what you may have heard, the Cenotaph will always stand.  It is the defenders' empty tomb, because their bodies were burned after the battle.  It was commissioned in 1940 and was placed within the 1836 battlefield.  The Cenotaph is owned by the city of San Antonio, which has final say over where it stands.  It may stay where it is, or it may be placed near the defenders' funeral pyre locations, which are currently not well marked.  We know that this is a sensitive subject, as the defender descendants rightly see the Alamo and the Cenotaph as their family grave site.  We are listening.  No final decision has been made.  It does need repair, and for a few names of defenders, who were not known in 1940, to be added.  But one thing is absolutely certain: the Cenotaph will always stand to honor the Alamo defenders.

The Alamo is the living, beating heart of Texas.  It's where the Texan identity begins.  We encourage everyone who loves liberty to visit the Alamo, take our improved battlefield tour, learn from our living history staff, and see the interactive Bowie: Man – Life – Legend exhibit.  I happened to produce and co-write that exhibit, and I'm proud of our team's work.  It's an exhibit of big, mean knives and the adventurous Alamo defender who made them famous.  How P.C. could it be?

The GLO and Alamo staffs teamed up to produce that exhibit in house, as a labor of love to reach back to 1836 and bring it up to today to teach rising generations about Texas history and the price of freedom.

Political correctness may be running amok elsewhere around the world, but we're talking about the Alamo.  We're talking about Texas.  Political correctness has no place in the Shrine of Texas Liberty, and as long as George P. Bush is the Alamo's guardian, it never will.

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