TEXAS VIEW: San Jacinto Day commemorates Texas independence

By The Lufkin News Writer

(Texans observed) San Jacinto Day on (April 21). It was 182 years ago, on April 21, 1836, that Texan and Mexican armies fought the Battle of San Jacinto, the most important military engagement ever on Texas soil. Some historians now view the battle as one of the most decisive in world history.

We have those brave men and women who fought that day to thank for our beautiful state.

San Jacinto Day also is a day to honor all who fought for the independence of Texas. They were “Texians” — native citizens and immigrant citizens speaking Spanish, English, German and more — all with a common purpose of self-preservation and liberty.

In 1835, after the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed, Mexican President Santa Anna brought his army to Texas to suppress the uprising of support for Texas independence. The Texans lost a number of battles to Santa Anna, leading to the battlefield cries of “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Goliad.”

This is the day that Gen. Sam Houston and the Texas Army defeated Santa Anna’s Mexican troops, winning independence for Texas in a battle that lasted only 18 minutes near Lynch’s Ferry, at a point where Buffalo Bayou and the San Jacinto River flow into the bay. Though the battle was short, the course of history was changed forever. For almost 10 years, Texans remained an independent country until becoming the 28th state of the United States of America. San Jacinto Day was made a legal state holiday by the 14th Texas Legislature in 1874.

The significance of the battle led to not only the annexation of Texas, but to the Mexican War, resulting in the U.S. acquisition of additional states New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming. Approximately one million square miles of territory, or almost one-third of today’s United States, changed sovereignty because of the victory at San Jacinto.

Celebrations in honor of the victory at San Jacinto have been held every year since the battle. The San Jacinto Monument, a memorial to honor all who fought for independence of Texas, stands at the site of the battle and is the tallest column monument in the world at 567 feet. It is a fitting tribute and reminder of what it took to make Texas. Events are held annually at the San Jacinto Battleground State Park, which features a re-enactment of the battle and a festival highlighting Texas history. For information about the park and activities, visit tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/san-jacinto-battleground or call (281) 479-2421.

San Jacinto Day is one of 13 Texas Honor Days designated by The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the oldest women’s patriotic organization in Texas dedicated to the preservation and education of Texas history. For more information on Texas Honor Days and the work of the D.R.T., visit drtinfo.org.