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ICYMI: Reimagine the Alamo Unveils Proposed Master Plan Design

SAN ANTONIO – After nearly two years of intense work, the Alamo Master Plan Management Committee, which is comprised of representatives from the Texas General Land Office, the City of San Antonio, and the private Alamo Endowment, unveiled detailed design renderings of the proposed master plan for the Alamo Complex and surrounding area. The spectacular images depict a vision that restores reverence and dignity to one of the most historic battlefields in the United States while capturing the imagination of all ages and all cultures, for generations to come. Working in close collaboration, the Committee and the Master Plan Team, led by Dr. George C. Skarmeas of Preservation Design Partnership, LLC, undertook the first ever systematic study of the history and the physical evolution of the Alamo site from the arrival of the Spanish missionaries in 1724 to the present time, and conducted archaeological research in the summer of 2016. The resulting bold and visionary ideas are based on evidence and the best principles and practices of heritage conservation planning and design. “Today marks a major benchmark in the nearly two-year mission to restore a sense of dignity and decorum to our Shrine of Texas Liberty,” Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said. Continue Reading →

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Thoughts on Government (1776)

In 1776, John Adams was asked to share his opinions on government.  In response, Adams wrote several letters and a pamphlet entitled, Thoughts on Government.  Adams touched on three branches of government and a system of checks and balances.  Thoughts on Government helped colonists embrace Independence and influenced several State Constitutions.  (In 1780, John Adams became the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution, the oldest functioning constitution in the world.)
“It has been the Will of Heaven, that We should be thrown into Existence at a Period, when the greatest Philosophers and Lawgivers of Antiquity would have wished to have lived: a Period, when a Coincidence of Circumstances, without Example, has afforded to thirteen Colonies at once an opportunity, of beginning Government anew from the Foundation and building as they choose.  How few of the human Race, have ever had an opportunity of choosing a System of Government for themselves and their Children? … All Sober Enquirers after Truth, ancient and modern… have agreed that the Happiness of Mankind, as well as the real Dignity of human Nature, consists in Virtue…   [And] great Writers… will convince any Man who has the Fortitude [courage] to read them, that all good Government is Republican… for the true Idea of a Republic, is ‘An Empire of Laws and not of Men.’
… As a good Government is an Empire of Laws, the first Question is, how Shall the Laws be made? Continue Reading →

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We Fight For Freedom (1776)

Following the American losses in the fall of 1776 and prior to the victory at Trenton, several States issued addresses in an effort to encourage their citizens.  Among the addresses given was one to the citizens of New York written by John Jay.  (John Jay became the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1789.)  After reading a copy of this address, Congress “earnestly recommended” it to all American citizens and ordered it “printed at the expense of the continent.”
“You and all men were created free, and authorized to establish civil government, for the preservation of your rights against oppression, and the security of that freedom which God hath given you…  It is, therefore, not only necessary to the well-being of Society, but the duty of every man, to oppose and repel all those… who prostitute the powers of Government to destroy the happiness and freedom of the people over whom they may be appointed to rule…
But you are told that their armies are numerous, their fleet strong, their soldiers valiant, their resources great; [and] that you will be conquered…  It is true that some [of our] forts have been taken, that our country hath been ravaged, and that our Maker is displeased with us.  But it is also true that the King of Heaven is not like the King of Britain…   If His assistance be sincerely implored, it will surely be obtained.  If we turn from our sins, He will turn from His anger. … [Therefore] let universal charity, public spirit and private virtue be inculcated [taught], encouraged and practiced; unite in preparing for a vigorous defense of your country, as if all depended on your own exertions; and when you have done these things, then rely upon the good Providence of Almighty God for success, in full confidence, that without His blessing all our efforts will evidently fail.”  John Jay, Address of the Convention of the Representatives of the State of New York to their Constituents, December 23, 1776
James Still (Mar 2017), RetraceOurSteps.com
“… we do not fight for a few acres of land, but for freedom — for the freedom and happiness of millions yet unborn.”  John Jay, Address of the Convention of the Representatives of the State of New York to their Constituents, December 23, 1776

“… God himself hath told us that strength and numbers avail not against Him.  Seek then to be at peace with Him; solicit His alliance, and fear not the boasted strength and power of your foes.”  John Jay, Address of the Convention of the Representatives of the State of New York to their Constituents, December 23, 1776
“… Continue Reading →

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Pictures of Our Lives

 

The family photograph was once a tradition celebrated annually and then hung on the wall for years to come.  Families would make appointments at photography studios such as Sears, Walmart, Kmart, and the old favorite Olan Mills.   The appointment day would arrive and everyone would dress in their Sunday best and head down for pictures.  Once there backgrounds were selected, poses were discussed, and ultimately mom and dad would decide which pictures would become part of the family album.   It seems that many of these places have since closed. With the arrival of the digital camera, and then the advancements of camera based phones, it seems that everyone has become a professional photographer.   The studio styled photography shoots has been regulated to hobbyist and those wishing to document special events. But, the time of setting the appointments at Olan Mills and others appears to be long gone.  We seem set to declare ourselves professional photographers because we have photography software and a phone. Recently I walked through one of the rooms of my parent’s home and saw some of those old Olan Mills family photos.  As my mind raced back through the years, I found myself looking ahead and wondering what it will be like twenty years from now.  Will our children seek out a family photograph?  Or, will they be content with the school photographs taken year-to-year through high school? Continue Reading →

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Alamo kicks off 2017 Commemoration events

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Today the Alamo kicks off events for the 2017 Commemoration of the Siege and Battle of 1836. For Alamo enthusiasts who cannot make it to San Antonio, they can follow the daily events at the Alamo on Twitter at twitter.com/OfficialAlamo and Facebook at Facebook.com/OfficialAlamo.  Siege Readings: February 23 – March 6 / 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. daily
Alamo Living Historians present historical readings that illustrate what was happening at the Alamo during each day of the 1836 siege. Siege Readings are free to the public, in front of the Alamo Church, and last approximately 10 – 15 minutes.  Ride for Texas Independence:

Friday, February 24 / 10 a.m.
February 24, 1836, Alamo commander William B. Travis wrote his now famous “Victory or Death” letter, and sent Courier Albert Martin to ride across Texas to deliver his impassioned plea for reinforcements. Continue Reading →

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Who was George Washington? (1732 – 1799)

George Washington was born in Virginia on February 22, 1732.  He was appointed County Surveyor at the age of 17 and joined the British Army at 21.  Washington was a Virginia Delegate to the First Continental Congress, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, President of the Constitutional Convention and unanimously elected first President of the United States.   Washington died at his Mt. Vernon home at the age of 67 on December 14, 1799.  Washington’s Birthday was set aside as a Federal holiday in 1885 in honor of America’s First President. Here is Thomas Jefferson’s description of Washington: “He was incapable of fear, meeting personal dangers with the calmest unconcern. Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. Continue Reading →

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Battle of Trenton (1776)

It was 3:00 a.m. when the last piece of artillery crossed the Delaware.  General Washington gathered his troops and, in the unrelenting storm, began the nine-mile march to Trenton.  Despite arriving after daylight and three hours behind schedule, the Americans surprised the Hessians.  The battle was brief, lasting only about an hour.   Two Americans died from exposure and only five were wounded in battle.  After the victory, Washington moved his troops back across the Delaware for safety.  The Battle of Trenton encouraged many troops to extend their enlistments and Washington’s army survived to see a new year. “It was just 8 o’clock. Looking down the road, I saw a Hessian running out from the house. He yelled in Dutch [German] and swung his arms. Three or four others came out with their guns. Continue Reading →

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