The City of San Antonio surrenders ownership of the Cenotaph to the State of Texas

The monument was built in the 1930s as a memorial to the soldiers who died at the Alamo.

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio has handed the Cenotaph over to the state of Texas just as it is about to undergo costly repairs.

City Council voted today to convey the cenotaph to the Texas General Land Office, one of the partners in the $550 million Alamo redevelopment plan.

Fencing is currently surrounding the Cenotaph. This monument, built in the 1930s is a memorial to the soldiers who died at the Alamo. The foundation is crumbling and engineers are studying the inside of this empty tomb to determine how much work needs to be done. It’s going to be an expensive project but now the state will be paying for the restoration.

The Alamo is undergoing a $550 million redevelopment that will change much of what visitors see when they come to the Texas Shrine of Liberty. But one thing that won’t change is the location of the Cenotaph. This monument has been a source of controversy and strong emotion. There have been previous reports of vandalism to the memorial and even plans to relocate the monument.

In 2018, The city announced plans to move the Cenotaph 500 feet south to better tell the Alamo story. But the backlash was severe, and in 2020 the Texas Historical Commission overwhelming voted to keep the Cenotaph in place.

Now the Cenotaph titled “The Spirit of Sacrifice” needs repairs. The foundation is crumbling. Engineers say rainwater has penetrated the monument and it is cracking and at risk of breaking apart. They are studying how much damage needs fixing inside. The restoration work, scheduled to begin in July 2024 and conclude by early 2025.

Here’s a statement KENS 5 received from Commissioner Buckingham which reads:

“Today’s vote by the City of San Antonio to convey ownership of the Alamo Cenotaph to the General Land Office is monumental. As Texas Land Commissioner, I am committed to ensuring that the Cenotaph, also known as “The Spirit of Sacrifice,” will forever stand in its place and be preserved for future generations. As a Texas Senator, I threw down the legal challenge to keep this important and impactful memorial in its place, and I am overjoyed to be entrusted with its safekeeping. The sacrifice and honor encompassed in the stone of this precious monument live in the hearts of all Texans. I thank the City of San Antonio for voting on this proposal and handing over this major responsibility to the General Land Office.” – Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, M.D.

The Texas General Land Office will be responsible for the monument and its restoration. The executive director of the Alamo Trust released a statement saying the city’s action ensures that we  can continue to preserve and enhance the Alamo’s legacy for future generations.

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