Is Lt. Governor Patrick Serious About Saving Texas Monuments?
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. March 19, 2020
In the March 3rd Republican primary nearly 98% of Texas voters supported Proposition 7 which would prohibit the removal of historic monuments in Texas, including the Cenotaph.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick acknowledged the results of the proposition in his March 5 press release about the Alamo’s Cenotaph. Yet he already knew how Texans felt from the public backlash against the removal of Confederate memorials.
In the face of public furor, Governor Greg Abbott (R) led the six-member board that voted to approve the Confederate plaque in the State Capitol. Eric Johnson (D), current mayor of Dallas, led the formal effort to take down the plaque, which had been on display in the state Capitol since 1959.
Ignoring public pressure to stop the removal of Confederate memorials, the 2019 Texas legislature failed to pass a monument protection bill.
In his press release Patrick noted that the 2015 Texas legislature had set aside funding for restoring the Alamo and buying adjacent property to reclaim much of the entire battlefield. He acknowledged that the public wants the project to be one of restoration and conservation with the focus on the battle itself, not the 200-year history of early Spanish settlement in Texas which is already depicted through San Antonio’s Mission Trail. Texans have been very clear that they expect the Alamo Plaza to resemble as closely as possible the actual fort as it was on the day of the battle, March 6, 1836.
Yet General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush, who has the responsibility for the historical project, has a different plan in mind. Millions of taxpayer money have already been spent on a design to “Reimagine” the Alamo as a tourist center to look more like “Central Park in New York City” than an 1836 battlefield memorial. Bush has personally decided to relocate the Cenotaph.
Patrick promised, “If the General Land Office cannot handle this important job, and to date it does not appear it can, I will recommend we identify another entity to provide oversight.” We’re watching.
Patrick has said nothing about the preservation of other historical monuments.
The Dallas City Council voted in 2017 to remove the bronze equestrian statue of Southern Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Lee Park. Lee was denounced as the scum of the human race by those who are using slavery to create racial division within Dallas. Even City Council woman Jennifer Gates made very disparaging remarks about Lee, obviously parroting Marxists and their revised history.
This characterization of Lee is completely false. During his lifetime, not only Southerners but Northerners held General Lee in very high regard. Upon his death on October 12, 1870 in Lexington, Virginia, various newspapers across the United States reporting his passing.
The Selma Journal, Selma, Alabama, October 13, 1870 “The city has been in mourning all day in honor of General Lee. The church bells tolled and a public address was delivered to a great crowd by General John Tyler Morgan.”
The Weekly Arizona Miner, Prescott, Arizona, November 5, 1870 “Robert E Lee, one of America’s greatest and best sons, is no longer a dweller on Earth. His death was mourned by men of all parties in every section of the country.”
The Stark County Democrat, Canton, Ohio, October 14, 1870 “The announcement of the death of General Robert E Lee will be received with regret all over the world."
The New York Herald, October 14, 1870 “The death of General Robert E Lee has impressed the public throughout the entire country with general feelings of regret. Old prejudices and party bitterness, if any remained up to this time; seem to have been forgotten at the announcement of his demise."
Marshall County Republican, Plymouth, Indiana, October 20, 1870 “Over the death of Robert E Lee, the Democratic journals of the Union weep bitter tears.”
The New York Times, October 12, 1870 “He died as he had lived a noble example of the sublime principles and teachings of the Christian religion."
The Evening Telegraph, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 15, 1870 “The death of General Robert E Lee was received with regret throughout the country and our exchanges generally from the North, as well as the South, without distinction of party, have kindly articles in which much is said of the purity and dignity of his character.”
Was Patrick’s press release an effort to calm the troubled waters after the 2019 session that saw Republicans voting like Democrats? Or is he signaling that he will take the lead to get legislation passed in the 2021 Texas session to preserve Texas history – including Confederate memorials?
Texans must gear up for another battle -- this time to save our incredible heritage. We will win this culture war.