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Celebrating Texas' Independence Day

Courtesy of Kendall County Republican Women

Native Texans take pride in the Lone Star State, and will celebrate their heritage on Texas Independence Day, Friday, March 2.

This year marks the 176th year of Texas' independence from Mexico, with celebrations taking place across the state. Texas is the only state in the nation to have first been an independent Republic before joining the Union.

On March 2, 1836, Texians - as they were called - unanimously adopted a Declaration of Independence by the Delegates of the People of Texas in General Convention at the Town of Washington, now Washington-on-the-Brazos, declaring independence from Mexico.

The declaration proclaimed that the Mexican government "ceased to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived" and complained about "arbitrary acts of oppression and tyranny." The declaration officially established the Republic of Texas.

The actual war for independence, which lasted about seven months, began with the Battle of Gonzales on Oct. 2, 1835, and ended with the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.

The most famous battle, however remains the Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, which took place from Feb. 23 to March 6, 1836.

In San Antonio, "Remembering the Alamo" weekend will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 3 and 4.

At 10 am on Saturday, the opening grand march into Alamo Plaza will be held. And at 10 am on Sunday only, El Primér Batallón de Mexico Living History Association will present "Remember the Mexican Soldier."

For a complete listing of historic reenactments at the Alamo, visit the San Antonio Living History Association website at www.sanantoniolivinghistory.org.

Additionally, 6 am to 7 am, Tuesday, March 6, will bring "Dawn at the Alamo," a pre-dawn commemorative ceremony honoring the fallen on both sides of the 1836 battle.

During this solemn ceremony, eyewitness accounts of the battle are read and flintlock musket volleys greet the dawn. The day is filled with events, and between 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm, Alamo Plaza goes silent during a solemn ceremony in the Alamo Shrine by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.

One of the largest celebrations of Texas Independence Day will be a free two-day festival at Washington-on-the Brazos, March 3 and 4. This year, the Star of the Republic Museum opens a new exhibit, "A Slice of Life: Washington in the 19th Century."
A special program will be held Sunday afternoon when direct descendants of the 59 declaration signers will be recognized during a dramatic roll call of each of the signers.

Re-enactors recreating soldiers fighting for Texas' independence will cook their meals and prepare for the battles to follow. Spectators will learn how black powder small arms and artillery are loaded, and then hear the rifle fire and musketry and the rumble of artillery as Texian soldiers would have during the battle.

Native Texans are urged to take advantage of these historic reminders of their heritage. Those new to Texas are urged to take this opportunity to learn more about the history of their adopted home.

Pictured: Photo by Dick Boone
San Antonio Living History Association
Re-enactor and live fire