Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Booze and the Alamo

Recently there has been a controversy about the General Land Office (GLO) allowing groups that rent Alamo Hall to serve alcohol. The historic keepers of the Alamo, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT), are opposed to this. Sour grapes or a true opposition to alcohol?

The state of Texas has owned the Alamo since the 1880's when they bought it from the Catholic Church.  Since 1905 the DRT have been caretaker of the Alamo and even almost bought it in the early 1900's.  That mostly autonomous caretaker role was modified by the 2011 Texas Legislature.  The General Land Office (GLO) is now in charge of Alamo operations.  The DRT still provide volunteers and maintain the DRT Library on the Alamo grounds but they no longer have final say on policy.

Alamo Hall is a former fire station that was built on Alamo grounds in the 1920's.  It is rented out for meetings and receptions.  The rental proceeds go into the fund to maintain and run the Alamo.  The controversy is that the GLO thinks allowing alcohol will increase the market for the space and therefore increase revenue.  The DRT thinks allowing alcohol will defile the hallowed grounds.

OK, let's look at this.  Alamo Hall was built in the 1920's not the 1830's.  It was not part of the hallowed grounds when they became hallowed.  The original mission and later Mexican and Republic of Texas garrison probably had a drop or two of alcohol spilled in it on occasion.  Conjecture is that Bowie, Crockett and most of their followers consumed adult beverages, often more than one.  The original mission had at minimum of wine consumed on its sacred ground.  Do you think those that died or worshiped at the Alamo would object to a group of folks, perhaps veterans, having a beer or two (maybe Shiners or Lone Star) at their gathering.  I don't think so.  If it were up to me I'd allow alcohol anywhere in the complex.

I think this is either the DRT trying to manufacture an issue since they don't have total control or trying to impose their 1905 morals on 2012 society's honoring of 1830 events and history.  This would not be an issue if the Knights of Columbus had become caretakers in 1905.  Of course in 1905 Texas the Catholics were about as accepted as Hispanics, Jews and Blacks.

Remember the Alamo!  But remember it as ordinary men doing extraordinary acts.  Maybe after a swig of some home brew.


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