Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Today, March 2, 2011, marks Texas Independence Day. A hundred and seventy-five years ago, the Texas Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Convention of 1836 on Washington-on-the-Brazos in Texas. This is an important day for Texas, and patriotic Texans observe this occasion with great pride.
In 1824, a military dictatorship took over in Mexico abolishing the Mexican constitution. The new military dictatorship refused to provide trial by jury, freedom of religion, public education for their citizens, and allowed for the confiscation of firearms--this last one particularly intolerable, particularly for Texans.
The Texas Declaration of Independence states that Texas' government had been ``forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism.'' It stated that because of the injustice of Santa Anna's tyrannical government, Texans were severing their connection with the Mexican nation and declaring themselves ``a free, sovereign, and independent republic fully invested with all the rights and attributes'' that belong to independent nations; and a declaration that they ``fiercely and confidently'' committed their decision to ``the Supreme Arbiter of the destinies of Nations.'' [Time: 10:30] The Texas Declaration of Independence was needed because this military dictatorship had ceased to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the people of Texas. Failure to provide these basic rights violated the sacred contract between a government and the people, and Texans at that time, and want to still today, stand up for their rights. In response, the Mexican army marched to Texas, waging a war on the land and the people, enforcing the decrees of the military dictatorship with brute force and without any democratic legitimacy.
Today, 175 years later, Texas President and Governor of Texas, Sam Houston, and other delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. General Santa Anna's army besieged the independence forces at the Alamo in San Antonio. Four days after the signing of this Declaration of Independence, the Alamo fell with her commander, Lieutenant Colonel William Barret Travis, and former Tennessee Congressman Davy Crockett and approximately 200 other Texas defenders. All these men were killed in action in a heroic sacrifice for Texas freedom.
If this tragedy were not enough, weeks later Santa Anna's Army massacred 300 unarmed Texans at Goliad on March 27 of 1836. In a dramatic turnaround, Texans achieved their independence several weeks later on April 21, 1836. Roughly 900 members of the Texan army overpowered a much larger Mexican army in a surprise attack at the Battle of San Jacinto in Harris County, Texas. This battle is memorialized along the San Jacinto River with the San Jacinto Monument in our congressional district. The monument's larger than the monument here in Washington, the Washington Monument. Sam Houston High School, which we have a lot of schools in our district named for Sam Houston, actually received a Texas historical marker about 3 weeks ago.
Today we give thanks to the many Texans that sacrificed for the freedom we enjoy today. God bless Texas and God bless America. END