US Congress Urges Action Plan: In a letter to the National Park Services, members of the U.S. Congress begged them to protect and preserve our most important missions. They did this to keep our historical treasures safe and in good shape.
Concerned nonprofits have said there has been an alarming rise in vandalism at the missions, which is why this sincere plea is being made.
Rebecca Simmons, the executive director of Las Missiones, said she was apprehensive about this sad graffiti trend that has been worsening over the past few years. She stressed these missions’ importance: “When someone cuts through it or puts a knife through it, they’re cutting into our heritage.”
She told sad stories about how bad the damage was, like how red paint was splattered on the convent in San Jose, how people tried to break into Mission San Juan by breaking doors, and how the famous rose window in San Jose had its glass broken.
Simmons clarified that fixing these issues would be hard and cost money. Every repair must be done carefully. She talked about the importance of keeping the original plaster and how people like Jim Bowie stood on top of Mission Concepcion during the Battle of Concepcion.
Cristóbal Lopez, a field representative for the National Parks Conservation Association in Texas, agreed with Simmons. He said that vandalism ranged from small to large, but it always happened in the same upsetting way.
One unfortunate event happened this summer: the famous rose window at Mission San Jose was damaged so severely that it could not be fixed.
After being asked if the tasks were explicitly targeted, Lopez admitted that he didn’t know what was causing the damage.
Simmons went into great depth about how the intruders behaved, pointing out how their actions and intentions changed over time. “Sometimes they want to get in, and they get in, but nothing happens,” she said. Sometimes, initials are carved into things, and others are broken.
Simmons and Lopez asked U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro for help because they had the same problems. As a response, Castro wrote a solid message to the National Park Services with other representatives, Henry Cuellar and Greg Casar. To get the service to “develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure the ongoing security and maintenance of our priceless Missions,” they wrote this letter. We are very worried that the San Antonio Missions won’t last another 300 years if the right safety and security steps aren’t put in place.
Lopez praised the staff at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park for their hard work and suggested that more money could help them protect the mission better