Yvette Reyna, Alamo Defender descendant
All Texans are proud of our heritage. Our ancestors fought for and won our freedom, and that makes us unique. This is what makes us Texan. This heritage starts at the Alamo.
José Toribio Losoya was literally born at the Alamo. His family owned a tiny two-room home on the Plaza de Valero. In 1830, Losoya joined the Mexican army’s Alamo de Parras company. That is the unit from which the Alamo gets its name. To say that he is part of the Alamo’s incredible story understates things. The Alamo was his world and he was willing to risk everything to protect it.
Like many Texans of his time, Losoya rejected the brutal dictatorship of Santa Anna. He wanted Texas to be free, and left the Mexican army to join Capt. Juan Seguin’s Texas unit as a private. This courageous choice would have marked him for death.
Losoya fought in both battles of the Alamo – the Battle of Béxar in late 1835, and the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. After the Battle of the Alamo his body was found in the chapel, where he undoubtedly fell fighting bravely alongside his 188 brothers in arms. He was just 28 years old.
Today, there is a beautiful life-size statue of him on the Paseo del Alamo, and Losoya Street in my hometown of San Antonio is named after him. José Toribio Losoya was also my great-great-great-great uncle, making me a direct Alamo Defender descendant. You might say that caring for the Alamo is a family tradition for me.
The Alamo is the heart of my family, and it is the heart of Texas. But sadly, a combination of Santa Anna’s vindictiveness after San Jacinto and the growth of my beloved city has placed the Alamo in peril now. Santa Anna ordered the walls torn down in May of 1836. The 1836 Battlefield is invisible, paved over with streets, sidewalks and the Plaza over the past century. Where we should be able to feel a deep sense of prayer and reverence, we instead hear loud protesters and see things that do not belong on the most sacred battlefield in Texas.
We have lost so much of the Alamo. Only two structures, the Church and the Long Barrack, survive from 1836. Decades of a lack of preservation and maintenance have left them in need of intense study and care. The traffic on Alamo Street causes the Alamo to crumble bit by bit every day.
Something has to be done. Many of us have been crying out for the city, the state – someone – to do what it takes to restore the Alamo as much as possible, and preserve it, and tell its story better. It’s heartbreaking that a place with such a grand history often feels so small. We have been crying out for courage and leadership.
We finally have the leadership and the plan that we need. Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has made preserving the Alamo his top priority. He has brought a talented team together to focus on saving the Alamo. His plan is simple: Preserve the Alamo’s 1836 structures; close Alamo Street and recover the Battlefield; build the world-class museum that the Alamo deserves. Commissioner Bush is a son of Texas, and he will ensure that the Alamo always tells the story of 1836 faithfully.
The Alamo needs Texans to come together and save her. The time for Texans to come to the Alamo’s aid is right now. Commissioner Bush’s preservation plan is the right plan, and all Texans who love the Alamo should support it.
Yvette Reyna is a lifelong San Antonio resident.