On this day, Texas celebrates its 183rd birthday. On March 2, 1836, a group of 60 delegates in what was then known as Mexican Texas signed the Texas Declaration of Independence to declare independence from Mexico. After the harrowing defeat at the Battle of the Alamo in December of 1835, these 60 delegates signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. After Texan forces had a major victory at the Battle of San Jacinto, Texas was officially independent, creating the Republic of Texas. This is the story of Texas Independence Day.
Those who are not from Texas may not even know that Texas has its own day of independence. Many do not know the significance of the Alamo in San Antonio. Texas is the only state to have had its own independence and status as a country. In fact, Texas was internationally recognized as its own country. Nine years after Texas declared independence from Mexico, the United States of America annexed Texas in December of 1845. Today, Texas Independence Day is a state holiday. Many schools and businesses have the day off. This year, it falls on a Saturday. On this day, some Texans celebrate with family, friends, barbeque and beer. Barbeque and grilling is a huge part of Texan culture.
Many non-Texans wonder why Texans celebrate this day. What does it mean to celebrate Texas Independence Day? Texas Independence Day signifies Texas’s strength and exceptionalism as a state and former country. Texas Independence Day is an important day for me and other Texans because it resembles the persistence and glory that the Texan soldiers had during battles for independence. As a proud Texan, this day reminds me of American Independence Day. I feel the same patriotic and state-pride sentiment when the Fourth of July comes around.
Being a Texan is a benefit and a privilege because Texans get to celebrate two independence days in one year. These two days are similar in the sense that both struggled in a fight against two different foreign imperial powers. Just as the settlers in colonial America had grievances against the British King George III, the Texan settlers had similar types of grievances against the Mexican general, Antonio López de Santa Anna. The American Revolution and the Texas Revolution both mean something special to Texans.
Along with 19 other states, Texas has its own Pledge of Allegiance. However, Texas is one of the only states to recite the Texas Pledge in public schools. When I attended public school in my middle school to high school years, the Texas Pledge was recited every morning on the intercom. This is a good example of Texas’s exceptional status as a state. Every morning, I would be reminded that I live in a state with unique history unlike any other state in America. Sure, most of America’s founding history comes from New England and the Northeastern states in general, but Texas has history that only happened for Texas, not the United States as a whole. In addition, Texas is also one of the only states that teaches its own state history to students in public schools. I remember telling my non-Texan friends I had a test coming up for Texas History class, and they were astonished to hear that Texas has its own history class. Teaching students Texas history in schools emphasizes the importance of Texas’s beginnings and fight for independence. Many states began as British colonies in colonial America or as vast territories, but Texas began as its own country that was eventually annexed to the United States. Texas pride roots from independence from Mexico.
Photo: YCT @ Trinity distributing Texas flags and bluebonnet seeds on Friday, Mar. 1. Photo by Manfred Wendt.