170th Anniversary Of Texas Independence Day

By | April 9, 2006

Senate Floor SpeechSenator Kay Bailey HutchisonMarch 2, 2006 — Page: S1598 MRS. HUTCHISON. Mr. President, I wish to take a moment to read the letter of William Barret Travis from {{more}}the Alamo. This is a tradition I continue that was started by Senator John Tower to commemorate Texas Independence Day, and that is today, March 2. Today is the 170th anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence, a document that was signed by, among others, my great-great-grandfather, Charles S. Taylor, and also his friend, Thomas J. Rusk, who first held the Senate seat I now hold. They both hailed from Nacogdoches, which is the oldest town in Texas–the town in which my mother grew up and the town in which I now own the home my grandfather built. It is a very historic time for Texas. We celebrate Texas Independence Day every single year because we know that fighting for freedom has made a difference in what Texas is. We love our history. We fought for freedom. We were a republic for 10 years, and then we came into the United States as a State. The defense of the Alamo by 189 courageous men, who were outnumbered 10 to 1, was a key battle of the Texas Revolution. The sacrifice of COL William Barret Travis and his men made possible GEN Sam Houston’s ultimate victory at San Jacinto, which secured independence for Texas. From the Alamo, Colonel Travis wrote to his countrymen the following: Fellow citizens and 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 is to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken–I have answered the demands with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the wall–I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of liberty, of patriotism and of 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. William Barret Travis, Lt. Col, Commander. Colonel Travis’s are the words of a true patriot. And his letter did inspire Texans to ultimate victory. In fact, his holding of the Alamo for so long did allow Sam Houston to muster his troops for the last stand at San Jacinto. To show you one other example of how Texans love their history, the minister who opened our Senate today with prayer from Lovers Lane Methodist Church in Dallas, TX, showed me, at breakfast this morning, the ring he wears which is a replica of the ring of William Barret Travis that he wore at the Alamo. He put the ring around the neck of the daughter of one of those who was able to survive and leave the day before the onslaught that killed all of those men at the Alamo. So Susanna Dickinson’s daughter had that ring around her neck–she was about 8 years old at the time–and that is why we know what the ring signified. Another example of how history continues to inspire us: I, just 2 weeks ago, commissioned the newest amphibious ship of the U.S. Navy. It is an amphibious assault ship, the first of its class, the USS San Antonio. The USS San Antonio has in its motto the words from William Barret Travis’s letter “Never surrender, never retreat.” That is a great ship which is going to carry marines into battle. It will carry our marines with the very best of technology, the very best safety measures we can possibly give them. And the quote “Never surrender, never retreat” will carry them into battle to help protect the freedom of Americans for years to come. I am proud to be the sponsor of the ship the USS San Antonio. It represents the spirit of our armed services today, just as 170 years ago when we fought for our independence from Mexico and later became a great State of the United States of America.