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The Alamo: Rescued from Neglect

The Alamo in San Antonio is rightly named the “Cradle of Texas liberty.” New Spain's 18th-century Catholic churchmen and soldiers first established the mission in East Texas, and later relocated it to San Antonio where it was known as the Mission del San Antonio de Valero. By 1836, the Alamo chapel and convent were enclosed in a wall that was eight feet high, and two and a half feet in breadth. It was built to enclose one thousand men plus animals and supplies.

With fewer than 200 hundred fighters, Lt. Col. William B. Travis could not protect such a vast structure against the thousands of Mexican soldiers led by Gen. Santa Anna. After the vicious battle, the Alamo and surrounding buildings were in ruins, and the area was soon neglected by local residents. In 1849, the U.S. Army moved into it, and as soldiers cleaned up the rubble, they found several more bodies of valiant fighters.

The Federal garrison moved out at the advent of the Civil War, and the Alamo had a series of post-war occupants that used this sacred area to warehouse animals, trash, and as a general store with groceries and meat. One tenant had his name painted on the Alamo exterior wall and hung hog carcasses in the cool, dark interior of the old stone church. By 1890, a city police substation was built against the southwest external wall of the church.

Finally, in 1903, school teacher Adina de Zavala and philanthropist Clara Driscoll took the initiative to save the Alamo and to restore its’ honor. In 1905, Gov. Samuel Lanham signed a resolution to preserve the Alamo as a sacred memorial to the heroes who sacrificed themselves on that hallowed ground.

Further, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas were to serve as caretakers of the Alamo with the responsibility to maintain and remodel it. When you visit the Alamo today, breathe a prayer of thanks to Clara Driscoll, Adina de Zavala, and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT) for daring to rescue the neglected fortress. The DRT ultimately turned its responsibilities over to the Texas General Land Office.

Neglect is a death sentence. Something that has great promise, deteriorates under the weight of uncaring negligence. It is true with historic buildings, and with our spiritual life. When people neglect their relationship with God, their spiritual life deteriorates like the old Alamo did. Unless something is done to restore it to honored status, it will be lost.

It was Nehemiah who saw that Children of Israel had neglected God when he said, “Why is the House of the Lord forsaken” (Nehemiah13:11)? Jesus reprimanded the religious leaders for majoring on minors when they had neglected to teach the full Word of God (Matthew 23:23). The Apostles had neglected the widows (Acts 6:1-4), and Paul charged us to “not neglect the spiritual gift that is within you” (1 Timothy 4:14).

The Alamo stands as a neglected treasure that was rescued by love. If your spiritual life was been neglected, revive your love for God and seek him today.

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