"First the Christmas Tree, then the Cenotaph, and now a Statue to Santa Anna”

Jan 19, 2020 by

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“First the Christmas Tree, then the Cenotaph, and now a Statue to Santa Anna”

By Ken Mercer, Member of Texas State Board of Education
former Member Texas House of Representatives
KBAMercer@sbcglobal.net  / (210) 355-2884


In 2017 the San Antonio leaders decided to move our Alamo Christmas Tree.  For decades prior, visitors took photos advertising to the whole world you vacationed at our Alamo City during Christmas.  City leaders erased one of our best sources of free media and advertising. 

In 2018, city leaders decided to move the Alamo Cenotaph at least 500 feet away from what we know as the “Shrine of Texas Liberty.”

During the 1936 Texas Centennial, the State of Texas provided $100,000 for the Alamo Cenotaph.  Also known as the “Spirit of Sacrifice” monument, the Cenotaph finally provided a sacred “empty tomb” and a final resting place that Santa Anna had denied the Alamo Defenders.

In 2019, elected officials want to honor the heroes on “both sides” of the conflict and even consider erecting a statue on Alamo grounds to the dictator and brutal tyrant Santa Anna and his “freedom fighters.” 

History reminds that in war with a ruthless dictator, only one side can be deemed the freedom fighters.

I believe each of three (2017, 2018 and 2019) politically motivated actions is immoral, an abomination and a desecration to our Heroic Defenders of the Alamo.

These radical steps are part of a progressive agenda to “reimagine” the Alamo.  In my experience on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), reimagine is a political “dog whistle” meaning the agenda of revising and rewriting history 183 years after the fact.

Historical revisionists now claim Texas was “stolen from Mexico” and “Santa Anna came to the Alamo to free the slaves.” 

True history reminds us that with the Constitution of 1824, the United Mexican States became a “Constitutional Republic.”

Modeled after the United States Constitution, Mexico’s 1824 document included one key difference, slavery was illegal.

In 1829, Mexico strengthened their Constitution with an “Emancipation Proclamation” to stop the attempt of “Jacksonian Democrats” migrating from the United States and trying to bring slaves into Mexico. 

Again, the 1824 Mexican Constitution and the 1829 Emancipation Proclamation opposed slavery.

Tejas (Texas), whose population was too small to warrant representation as a separate state, was part of the Mexican state of “Coahuila y Tejas.”

In 1835 Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was elected President and then declared himself military “Dictator of Mexico” and “Napoleon of the Western Hemisphere.”

Santa Anna annulled the Mexican Constitution of 1824 and enacted his own Constitution known as his “Siete Leyes” or seven laws. 

His new constitution allowed only those with a certain level of income the right to vote or hold office. 

Santa Anna had his military disband the elected National Congress and Legislatures of each Mexican state.  History tells us the elected officials of Mexico fled for fear of their lives. 

The Mexican state boundaries were redrawn into military districts governed by officers loyal to Santa Anna. 

Historians point to several Mexican states revolting against the tyrant Santa Anna including: Coahuila y Tejas (the northern part became the Republic of Texas), San Luis Potosí, Querétaro, Durango, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Yucatán, Jalisco, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.

Several of these states formed their own governments including the Republic of the Rio Grande and the Republic of Yucatán. Only the Republic of Texas was successful in gaining independence.

On May 11, 1835, Santa Anna brought his army to end the rebellion in Zacatecas.  He did not come to free slaves.

His “Army of Operations” captured almost 3,000 prisoners.  Reports have Mexican civilians being massacred by the thousands. 

This cruel dictator gave his soldiers forty-eight hours to first rape and pillage Zacatecas, and then loot the rich silver mines. 

Santa Anna would spend years suppressing revolts by other Mexican states.

The “Thirteen Day Siege of the Alamo” began on February 23, 1836.  The flag that was flown had four numbers –1824. This meant the Texians were citizens of Mexico and wanted to reestablish the Mexican Constitution of 1824.

I was honored to carry and lead passage of SBOE amendments to continue reading the world famous “Victory or Death” letter of Col. William Travis and to recognize our Alamo Defenders as” Heroes.” 

Travis’ short, 250-word “primary source document” tells us that 189 (some sources say 257) Alamo men fought Santa Ana’s army of 1,500 that grew with reinforcements to over 3,000 Mexican solders.

On March 3, 1836, probably unknown to the Defenders at the Alamo, Texas ratified her Declaration of Independence.

The grievances delineated included: Freedom of Religion (Santa Anna declared one national denomination), trial by jury, right to bear arms, public education, along with political corruption and abuse.

On March 6, 1836, the Alamo fell; and Santa Anna executed all surviving combatants of the Alamo. To deny a Christian burial for our Defenders, he ordered all the bodies be stripped, looted, stacked and burned.

And yes, one Alamo Defender was former U.S. Congressman David Crockett of Tennessee.

Three weeks later at the “Goliad Massacre” Santa Anna executed Col. James Fannin and 344 prisoners.  Officer Fannin requested that “our belongings be left for our families” and “we not be shot in the face” to allow identification by the families and to have “a Christian burial.”

Santa Anna’s army took all belongings, fired shots in people’s faces multiple times, and burned all bodies to deny them Christian burials. 

Their charred bodies were purposely left for the vultures and coyotes.

World opinion, including the United States, France and Great Britain, then branded Santa Anna and sadly the people of Mexico as cruel and brutal. 

The New York Post editorialized that if Santa Anna was more moderate in his tactics, perhaps world opinion. sympathy and support for the Texians would not be as strong.

Did Santa Anna try to change World opinion and suddenly declare he was peaceful and came to “free the slaves” as some officials are now reimagining?

Ask the Mayans from the “Republic of Yucatan” who also rebelled.  Cuban history documents that after the failed Yucatan rebellion, Mayan slaves arrived as part of a “deal” the Mexican Army made with Spain in exchange for cash per slave to pay off war debt.

Now, in 2019 certain elected officials, 183 years after the Alamo, voted to move the Cenotaph memorial and consider building a statue to honor Santa Anna and the “other freedom fighters.”

Again, in a war against a dictator and tyrant, only one side can be deemed freedom fighters.

I challenge San Antonio leadership:     

  1. Return the Christmas tree to the Alamo.  Our Defenders deserve this worldwide symbol of faith and peace.
  2. Do not move and do not deface the Alamo Cenotaph.  Our Defenders earned this permanent memorial and “hollow tomb.”
  3. Stop this politically correct agenda that states Santa Anna came to “free the slaves.”  Remember Zacatecas, the Alamo, Goliad and Yucatan.

History 101 tells us: Dictators and tyrants do not come to free slaves. Dictators and tyrants come to make slaves.

Of all places in our world, the “City of Saint Anthony” should not allow this absurd, politically corrupt agenda to reimagine, revise, and rewrite our history.  Our “Heroic Defenders of the Alamo” deserve better.

Ken Mercer

Member: Texas State Board of Education’

Former Member, Texas State House, Committee on Higher Education  

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  1. Penny Davis

    Well Texas you need to be rid is Texas Land Commissioner, George P Bush who is of the globalist Bush family who sides with democrats to continue to perverse Texas and all that we hold sacred. Vote him out!

  2. Faron Reed

    Gonna have to remarch on the Alamo if they allow this !!!

  3. Deborah A Andrle

    Thank you so much for your great article and writing more about the history of the Alamo. We have so much of a unique and proud history. We need to protect it and cherish it. So happy to have you in the fight!

  4. Tom Longmire

    As with the Southerners fighting for independence, “in a war against a dictator and tyrant (Lincoln), only one side can be deemed freedom fighters (the South)”. And “History 101 tells us: Dictators and tyrants (Lincoln) do not come to free slaves. Dictators and tyrants come to make slaves.” We are now all slaves of the Federal government!

    As Lincoln In his 1st inaugural address on March 4, 1861, ““… I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. (in other words, it’s NOT about slavery) Then he makes this threat …, “The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government and to collect the duties (tariffs) and imposts but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no use of force against or among the people anywhere…” (in other words it’s about collecting his revenue).

    The irony is that if liberals want to show both sides of the conflict, why then are they wanting to remove the “freedom fighters” side (the South) of the WBTS! Keep the Alamo and keep Confederate monuments!

  5. Mfcook

    You can’t change our history, it is what it is whether you like it or not.
    This is not to take offense, to help us move forward!

  6. Mike Voirin

    Santa Ana is not respected in Mexico and there is no place in Texas to memorialize him. He was a gluttonous pig that was cast out of a Texas. Let him stay out!

    Socialist Revisionists Stay Out of Texas!

  7. M Chapa


    Stop trying to change the history of Texas!

    Texas is sacred!
    Those men are hero’s and deserve to be remember for their sacrifice!

    Seriously where do I sign for them to stop this!

  8. Sharon Tomas

    All the comments above are right on point! I cannot improve on them, but only echo them! Do not mess with Texas history. The Alamo is a sacred shrine to the hero’s who sacrificed their lives for its freedom. Santa Anna was a savage beast who desecrated their bodies! Now San Antonio wants to further gut the Alamo by jacking with the memorial and trying to insert a statute of the very general who desecrated this dead hero’s! What are they thinking or drinking to come up with such an asinine plan? Or, maybe they were smoking ‘funny’ cigarettes?

  9. Carol Boren

    How can we help get rid of guilty City leaders? Many are APPOINTED by City Management.

  10. A call for Texas heroes needs to be respected.
    The Texas Manifesto
    Daniel Cloud, December 26, 1835 (in route to the Alamo, San Antonio de Bexar) with Davy Crockett’s Kentucky troops
    “If we succeed, the Country is ours. It is immense in extent, and fertile in its soil and will amply reward all our toil. If we fail, death in the cause of liberty and humanity is not cause for shuddering. Our rifles are by our side and choice guns they are, we know what awaits us, and are prepared to meet it.”

    • Nancy Foster

      We need to plan another March to the Alamo. Citizens of our beloved State need to execute a modern day defense of the Alamo, the Cradle of Texas Freedom. I’d show up with my gun & I’m a 71 year old Grandma. Let them try to stop us from putting up a Christmas Tree or let them try to keep us from replacing The Cenotaph on its hallowed ground. Come on Texas, we can show the rest of the Nation what we think of Socialists reimagining Texas History‼️

  11. Tommy Owen

    The Alamo should be kept as is & defeat of Santa Anna be told for the coward he was & for the memory of all the brave people that defended it and died there.

  12. Dena

    “Re-imagining” history is nothing more than intellectual perversion. Unrestrained it will lead to statues of Hitler being erected outside of Holocaust museums. We must guard our history & our culture from the celebration of its monsters. We must cherish the heroes: their sacrifices, reputations, and memories and preserve this treasure for all who need to learn it’s lessons. It is a critical daily reminder which is why it is under attack by revisionists.

  13. J Alan

    Santa Anna was a TYRANT and a brutal killer of many innoent people! He was an oppressor and a Dictator! OF COURSE the Commie idiots of San Antonio place RACE above the TRUTH in all things!

    DO NOT allow this idiocy!

  14. Glenna Davis

    This is all so very wrong! How will our children see how far we have come as a nation, if all evidence is removed? I am
    So very proud of my heritage.

  15. The Alamo does not need to be re-imagined and Texas History RE- WRITTEN

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