WASHINGTON –Today in honor of Texas Independence Day, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) read Lieutenant Colonel William Barrett Travis’s famous letter on the Senate floor . Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video can be found here.
“185 years ago on March 2, 1836, Texas adopted its Declaration of Independence from Mexico.”
“Virtually everybody died at the Battle of the Alamo. It was actually the Battle of San Jacinto that won the war, but just one week shy of that momentous day, a 26-year-old Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Army named William Barrett Travis and his fellow soldiers were outnumbered nearly ten to one by the forces of the Mexican Dictator Antonio López de Santa Anna.”
“Colonel Travis wrote a letter that has arguably become the most famous document in Texas history… It’s my great honor to read the Travis letter here on the Senate floor.”
“The letter was addressed, ‘To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World:’”
“’Fellow citizens & compatriots,’ Travis wrote.
“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 are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken.
“I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, and our flag still waves proudly from the walls.
“I shall never surrender or retreat.
“Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism and 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.
“Signed: William Barret Travis
“In the battle that ensued, all 189 defenders of the Alamo gave their lives, but they did not die in vain.”
“The Battle of the Alamo bought precious time for the Texas revolutionaries, allowing General Sam Houston to maneuver his army in in the position for the decisive victory, as I said, in the Battle of San Jacinto.”
“For nine years the Republic of Texas thrived as a nation. That’s the reason we fly our flag at the same height as the United States flag, unlike other states, but then in 1845 we were annexed to the United States as the 28th state.”
“Every single day I’m honored to represent the people of my state here in the United States Senate, an opportunity that would not be possible without the sacrifices made by brave men like William Barrett Travis 185 years ago.”