SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Flags were lowered and prayers were said in the myriad languages of the Alamo’s 1836 defenders on Friday as the Daughters of the Republic of Texas ended their 110 years as custodians of the mission-turned-fortress-turned-shrine.
Members of the 124-year-old group held a solemn, low-key ceremony to mark the handover of the Alamo to the General Land Office of Texas.
The prayers were recited in English, Spanish, Danish and German during the event in front of the Alamo. A group of men in period dress stood as honor guard. One of the men led cheers for the group, while another played “The Yellow Rose of Texas” on the bagpipe.
Tourists came and went apparently unaware of the ceremony. The Daughters ended the event by lowering their U.S. and Texas flags. Another Texas flag was run up the Alamo’s flagpole.
The group will operate a research center and conduct programs on the site. However, under a state mandate, the Daughters began turning authority over the Alamo to the Texas General Land Office in March. Last month, Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation that removes a representative of the group from the Alamo advisory board.
The Alamo was the site of an 1836 battle in the Texas war of independence from Mexico. The battle led to the deaths by Mexican troops of some 180 defenders of the besieged fort. Weeks later, those deaths provided Texas irregulars with their rallying cry that they carried to victory at the Battle of San Jacinto, which clinched Texas’ independence from Mexico.
A lawsuit for control of the archives the Daughters have accumulated at the Alamo since 1950 is pending. The group’s president general, Dr. Betty Joe Edwards, has said the group will monitor how the state operates the site.