Texas Independence Dayby Senator John Cornyn
Posted on 2013-03-05
CORNYN. Mr. President, I rise to commemorate a very special day
in history--a day that inspires pride and gratitude in the hearts of
the people of the great State of Texas. I rise today to commemorate
Texas Independence Day, which was actually this last Saturday, March 2.
I will read a letter that was written 177 years ago from behind the walls of an old Spanish mission known as the Alamo--a letter written by a young lieutenant colonel in the Texas Army, William Barret Travis. In doing so I carry on a tradition that was started by the late John Tower, who represented Texas in this body for more than two decades. This tradition was later carried on by his successor, Senator Phil Gramm, and then by our recently retired colleague, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. It is a tremendous honor that this privilege has now fallen to me.
On February 23, 1846, with his position under siege and outnumbered by nearly 10 to 1 by the forces of Mexican dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Travis penned the following letter, ``To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World:'' Fellow citizens & compatriots-- I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna.
I have sustained a continual Bombardment and cannonade for 24 hours and have not lost a man.
The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion. Otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken.
I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls.
I shall never surrender or retreat.
Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism and everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch.
The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily and will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days.
If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country.
Victory or Death.
Signed: William Barret Travis.
As we all know, in the battle that ensued, 189 defenders of the Alamo lost their lives. But they did not die in vain. The Battle of the Alamo bought precious time for the Texas Revolutionaries, allowing Sam Houston to maneuver his army into position for a decisive victory at the Battle of San Jacinto. With this victory, Texas became a sovereign and independent republic. For 9 years, the Republic of Texas thrived as an independent nation. Then, in 1845, it agreed to join the United States as the 28th State.
Many of the Texas patriots who fought in the revolution went on to serve in the U.S. Congress. I am honored to hold the seat once occupied by Sam Houston. More broadly, I am honored to have the opportunity to serve 26 million Texans because of the sacrifices made by these brave men 177 years ago.
May we always remember their sacrifices and their courage. And may God continue to bless Texas and these United States.
Mr. President, I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Schatz). The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.