AUSTIN — William Barret Travis' famous "Victory or Death" letter will make its return to the Alamo at 4 p.m. Friday, February 22 for a grand celebration at Alamo Plaza. This will be the first time it has been at the Alamo since it left with a courier on horseback under the cover of darkness during the famous 13-day siege in 1836.
"To the People of Texas and All Americans in the world - come and see the letter," Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said, paraphrasing the opening lines of the Travis letter. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be inspired by this patriotic letter at the Shrine of Texas Liberty itself."
The letter will be escorted to the Alamo by officers of the Texas Department of Public Safety and San Antonio Police Department. An honor guard will carry the letter inside as Travis' fifth great-nephew, Denton County Sheriff William B. Travis, reads the stirring letter. Inside the Shrine, the letter will be carefully placed inside a custom-built, shatter-proof glass display case made by the world-renowned German company Casewerks at a cost of $20,000. This special case will allow visitors to see both sides of the fragile letter at a safe distance. Armed peace officers will flank the case for the duration of the exhibit.
As a prelude to the viewing of the letter, visitors will tour an exhibit detailing Travis' life and the Texas Revolution, through fragile historic documents and artifacts from the vaults of the Texas General Land Office and the Alamo. The arrival ceremony will include music and historical re-enactors and all are invited to join in the moment.
Public display of the letter will be from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, through Thursday, March 7. As always, the Shrine of Texas Liberty is open to visitors free of charge. Free full-size reproductions of the Travis letter will also be available to visitors inside the Shrine. Visitors are asked to be silent and respectful when viewing the document and no flash photography will be allowed to protect the light-sensitive paper. Commemorative items will also be available in the newly renovated gift shop, including an official exhibition guide, T-shirts, mugs and more. Sales from the Alamo Gift Shop fund the operation of the 300-year-old mission.
The event is being coordinated by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the Texas General Land Office and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. More than $100,000 in private donations from the San Antonio-based McCombs Family Foundation, Fort Worth's Meta Alice Keith Bratten Foundation and Galveston's Moody Foundation will help cover the costs of this extraordinary exhibit. H-E-B and the Kempner Family also contributed to the effort. Texans wishing to be a part of this moment may make an online donation through the San Antonio Area Foundation here: https://www.saafdn.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=202.
"Dedication. Courage. Defiance. The very essence of Texas is captured in this letter," Patterson said. "See this letter and be inspired about what it means to be a Texan and the cost of liberty."
For more information on the Alamo, please visit the www.travisletter.org or the Official Alamo website at www.thealamo.org. Stay posted with regular updates by clicking like on the Travis Letter Returns page on Facebook.
WHO: People of Texas and all Americans in the world
WHAT: Historic return of Travis' "Victory or Death" letter to the Alamo
WHEN: 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22. Public display is from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23 to Thursday, March 7. Admission is free.
WHERE: 300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, Texas 78205
WHY: To reignite the American spirit of courage and defiance to tyranny.