AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Daughters of the Republic of Texas have drawn a line in the sand over a new policy that allows alcohol to be served for the first time on the grounds of the Alamo. They likened it to a sacrilege.
And Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson dismissed it as an empty and misguided gesture. And he immediately launched a counter-attack against the nonprofit that for more than a century was the caretaker of Texas' most iconic shrine.
"I'm an ex-Marine and a Vietnam vet. I've participated in many a toast to a fallen comrade," said Patterson, whose agency now oversees the Alamo. "We never toasted with grape juice. And I don't think we were being irreverent."
The Daughters, however, said in a statement on Friday that that the Alamo should remain as dry as the San Antonio dust in the summertime.
The Alamo grounds are considered sacred, not only because 189 men died in battle on March 6, 1836, but because the remains of Native American's are buried and entombed on the complex property," the organization said. "For over 107 years, the DRT has proudly upheld strong standards at the shrine and have never allowed alcohol out of respect for the souls that sacrificed their lives for Texas freedom."
Patterson said the organization is getting itself all lathered up over nothing.
The new policy applies only to a building built in 1922 as a fire station. It was not part of the grounds when William Barret Travis used his sword to draw a line in the sand to find out who among the Texicans would stand with him in defending the Alamo against Santa Ana's army.
Under the policy, any group that uses the building for a reception that includes alcohol must hire an extra security guard and the drinks must be served by a licensed bartender.
Patterson, who had a bit part in the 2004 film, The Alamo, insisted that many of the defenders had more than a little drink the night before as Mexican army had begun its siege on Feb. 23.
"A lot of them were hung over from celebrating George Washington's birthday," he said.
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