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Revive Fort Ringgold Project Underway

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Posted: Jan 10, 2013 9:25 PM

Updated: Jan 10, 2013 9:49 PM

RIO GRANDE CITY - Fort Ringgold once was considered one of the most attractive forts along the border. Decades later, the site will be restored to the splendor of its early years.

Fort Ringgold was established in 1848 in Rio Grande City. The school district bought it in 1949 and served as the district's only school campus for decades.

"Fort Ringgold is Rio Grande. Fort Ringgold has described the community. It's pretty much described what Rio Grande is. So, Fort Ringgold is who we are. The history is our heritage and we need to pass it on to the next generation," Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Roel Gonzalez said.

The district held a special, flag-raising ceremony recently to kick off what they've called Reviva Fort Ringgold (Revive Fort Ringgold).

"When it waves in the breeze it usually draws a crowd. Its colors are so beautiful, the red, white and blue," Ringgold Elementary student Danica G. Pena said during the ceremony.

"The first flag pole was right there in front of the Lee House, because that was Ringgold barracks and before that it was a collection of tents called Camp Ringgold," Starr County Historian R.C. Salinas said.

"Sitting one night with my wife talking about what's next. I said 'what's next is taking care of our fort that's been long neglected,'" Gonzalez said.

One of the buildings will become a museum, Gonzalez said.

"We're going to start with the grounds and the facades of the buildings. We're not going to change anything historical. We're contacting the historical society in Austin. We're going to get our community together to see how we can rebuild, repaint and refurbish our buildings to their grand shape that they were before," Gonzalez said.

"Our flag flies high for freedom, for equality, for right and justice for you and me," Ringgold Middle School student Andrea Cantu said.

"I think it's very inspiring to take part in all this history that's been going on here for hundreds and hundreds of years," JROTC Cadet Major Valeria Padilla said.

"I hope my grandchildren, my great grandchildren will say, 'you know, my grandma was part of this.' They can look at the flag and be proud of who they are and the historical significance of all of this," Ringgold Middle School Principal Olga Smedley said.

The flag-raising ceremony was just the beginning.

"This flag will be seen throughout the community and across the river into Mexico," Gonzalez said.

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