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2013-03-07

Why Texans celebrate Texas Independence Day

By Texas Senator Troy Fraser

By Texas Senator Troy Fraser
Senate District 24

On March 2, 1836, some 60 Texan delegates congregated at Washington-on-the-Brazos to sign the Texas Declaration of Independence, a document which was drafted overnight.
The brazen doctrine opens with a scathing denouncement of the Mexican government under the despotic rule of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
"When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression."
Texas was one of seven Mexican territories to revolt under the oppressive rule of Santa Anna, who cultivated the moniker, "the Napoleon of the West."
Texas was the only territory to eventually retain its freedom. Some theorized that Santa Anna's cruelty against reprisals played a role in his undoing.
The New York Post said at the time, "had [Santa Anna] treated the vanquished with moderation and generosity, it would have been difficult if not impossible to awaken that general sympathy for the people of Texas which now impels so many adventurous and ardent spirits to throng to the aid of their brethren."
Davy Crockett, who was already a living legend, had fallen on hard times and had his own reasons for heading west. He lost his bid for re-election to the 24th United States Congress in 1835 and was in need of a fresh start.
Before departing his native Tennessee, Crockett was quoted as saying "You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas."
Crockett would eventually perish defending the Alamo in San Antonio at the hands of Santa Anna's army just four days after Texas declared its independence.
His manner of death and impact on the battle is widely debated. But two facts are agreed upon; he did die at the Alamo and in doing do so, Crockett, along with an estimated 188 other heroes, laid down his life in the name of Texas.
Their sacrifice along with those at the Goliad Massacre would serve as a rallying cry in the eventual capture of Santa Anna and obliteration of his army on April 21, 1836 in the Battle of San Jacinto.
Led by Sam Houston, Texas' victory over Mexico at San Jacinto was so decisive, it is still considered one of the most lopsided battles in recorded history.
The Republic of Texas would last a decade before joining the US as the 28th state.
So we celebrate. From the Gulf Coast, to the Hill Country, to the plains of the Panhandle, we celebrate Texas Independence Day every March 2 with parties, parades, concerts and reenactments.
Perhaps Crockett summed up best why Texas is worth fighting for in a letter penned less then two months before his death, "I must say as to what I have seen of Texas it is the garden spot of the world. The best land and the best prospects for health I ever saw, and I do believe it is a fortune to any man to come here."