Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02)

As I walked onto the battlefield in the hot Texas sun, I journeyed through a sea of buckskin uniforms, bowie knives and long muskets. I felt like I had died and gone to Heaven.

The men who portrayed Samís Boys had a certain swagger, a certain something that made them real members of the Texas Army. I even got my picture taken with Captain Juan Seguin, who led the Tejanos, Mexicans loyal for independence. So as not to confuse these Tejanos with Santa Annaís army, General Sam had Seguin put a playing card in the head band of each Tejano so they could easily be recognized.

Seguin and his men were roaming around the battlefield. Cannons, battle cries and the sound of hooves surrounded me. I was like a little boy again.

Thousands of people came from far and wide to celebrate 175 years of Texas independence at the San Jacinto Day Festival and Battle Reenactment. Children and senior citizens alike all gathered to travel back in time and see the reenactment of one of the most decisive battles in all historyóand certainly the most decisive battle in Texas history.

Folks lined the battlefield with lawn chairs, umbrellas and water bottles to watch the reenactment of events that led to the Texas victory over the Mexican Army on April 21, 1836. I was reminded of how good it feels to be an American ñ particularly a Texan-American. As the wind blew, history unfolded right in front of our eyes. I felt like I stepped back in time to 1836.

It was 175 years ago that Texas became an independent nation. Like many folks, sometimes I wish that we still were. General Sam and his boys took on Santa Anna and an army of about 1,600 along the marshy banks of the San Jacinto River in the battle that resulted in one of the largest land transfers in world history and gave way to a new independent nation ñ the Republic of Texas.

After Mexican dictator Santa Anna stormed the walls of the Alamo, and ordered the massacre at Goliad, he felt the Texans had all but been defeated, and he set his sights on finishing the war with the Texans heading southeast in the ìRunaway Scrape.î

During this time, panic spread across Texas and doubt loomed that General Sam Houston could stop the Mexican Army. But, General Sam was not the quitting type and he would not give up his fight for freedom so easily.