After an emotional debate in which dozens of speakers spoke out on a bill that would prohibit the Cenotaph from being moved as part of the master plan for 're-imagining' Alamo Plaza, a Texas House committee essentially tabled the bill, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
State Rep Kyle Biedermann told the House Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Committee that he has amended his bill to prohibit the Cenotaph from being moved for two years, citing the emotional comments as evidence that more needs to be heard about the plan.
Biedermann quoted William Barret Travis' comments urging the Texas Constitutional Convention, then underway at Washington-on-the-Brazos, to continue its work, despite the dire condition of his troops who were surrounded by Mexican forces at the Alamo.
"Under the flag of independence, Texas independence, we are ready to peril our lives a hundred time a day," he read from Travis' letter. "And then it was 'Victory or Death'."
The plan is to move the Cenotaph about 50 yards to the south, in front of the Menger Hotel, so the Plaza itself can be reconfigured to how it appeared in 1836, which did not include the 1936 Pompeo Coppini art deco monument.
But speakers like Randy Beale, who is with the heritage group 'This is Texas Freedom Force' said the Cenotaph, which is actually called 'Spirit of Sacrifice' should remain in the spot where the heaviest fighting of the battle took place.
"They fought and they defended Texas and the Republic of Texas and they died on that spot," he said. "And the Cenotpah needs to remain on that spot."
This is Texas Freedom Force president Brandon Burkhardt agreed.
"This monument means everything to Texans, this monument is who we are, our rally cry and our identity as native Texans."
Several people who said they are descendants of those who died at the Alamo say the Cenotaph is the only monument their ancestors have, and the only place they can go to mourn their death.
Others quoted Coppini as warning back in the forties that the Cenotaph would not survive a move, saying it is too deeply embedded in Alamo Plaza. Some pointed out that Gettysburg, which is a historic site which Alamo Plaza is frequently compared to, is littered with post-battle era monuments celebrating the exploits of regiments and commanders.
But there were also several speakers who said moving the Cenotaph a few hundred feet wouldn't damage the memory of the defenders, and moving it to a new location would help explain to a new generation of tourists exactly how the defenders died, and would help explain the battle in better detail.
By 'leaving the bill on the table,' at this time late in the session, that makes it highly unlikely that it will be approved.