Texans have another Independence Day to celebrate

Posted Friday, Mar. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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On this day in 1836, a group of brave Texans holed up in a small San Antonio mission, under siege for the ninth day by an overpowering Mexican army led by ruthless dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

About 175 miles away, unknown to the Alamo defenders, another group of Texans gathered at Washington on the Brazos, outlining grievances against the Mexican government and drafting a Declaration of Independence.

Like the revolutionaries meeting in Philadelphia almost 60 years earlier, the Texans began their declaration with the word when:

"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 .. becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression."

The document noted what people expect of a central government. In addition to complaints about political and economic oppression, the list of grievances against "Emperor" Santa Anna's new kingdom included failure to guarantee a right to trial by jury, lack of a public education system and denial of freedom of worship.

The Texas Declaration of Independence, like the one that gave birth to the United States of America, is a noble and inspiring document. But as Texans and all Americans know, words and symbolism alone do not win independence or secure freedom. These cherished gifts have been bought with hardship -- and often blood.

Santa Anna's troops killed the Alamo fighters, and later had more than 340 Texas troops executed at Goliad. But on April 21, the Texans defeated his army and captured him during the Battle of San Jacinto. That cleared the way for establishment of the new Texas Republic, which in 1845 became the 28th state in the union.

On Texas Independence Day, remember all the state's colorful history, not just the Alamo.

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