By JOHN CORNYN
WASHINGTON – It all started in a small town nestled between the Barrington Farm and the Jordan Creek along the banks of the Brazos River – that’s where the early seeds of the Lone Star State were planted.
If you’re from Texas, you’re probably familiar with names like Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, and Steven F. Austin. It would be hard to grow up here without repeatedly hearing the story of how our ancestors beat oppression, won the Texas Revolution, and declared independence as the Republic of Texas.
Certainly, you ‘Remember the Alamo.’
For two weeks, Mexican soldiers had been launching attacks at Texas’ southern border in attempts to squander our budding independence. They quickly drained our resources and numbers. But they could never drain our spirit.
In the midst of the fight, five newly-elected Texas delegates hunkered down along the Brazos’ banks and rushed to put pen to paper. Time was of the essence. Messengers reported that just 350 miles south, the number of remaining Texan soldiers had dwindled into the double-digits. They were desperate to defend the Alamo against an onslaught of thousands of fresh Mexican soldiers, and they were failing. The five delegates burned the midnight oil – literally – jotting down ideas that would soon change history.
The next morning, the other 54 delegates returned to what we now call Independence Hall to make it official. It was March 2nd, 1836, and the first lone star had just been hoisted into the sky as a symbol of Texas freedom and the now independent Republic of Texas.
For ten years, the Republic thrived on the same ideals that still drive our state: freedom, personal responsibility, and plain old hard work. On Dec. 29, 1845, Texas became the 28th state to join the United States – the first state with history as its own independent nation.
Although the Republic of Texas was short-lived, the Texas spirit lives on. Look around, and you’ll see we’re still Texans undeterred, working hard to provide for our families. Our state’s employment boasts the fastest growth rate of all 50 states, and creates the most international trade of all 50 states. And we still fight just as hard to protect our ideals and our neighbors.
County Commissioner Ben Perry hit the nail on the head when he told me what we Texans know too well: “Being a Texan doesn’t describe where you’re from, it describes who your family is.”
So as spring comes along and we celebrate new beginnings of all kinds, I know across Texas we’ll all be celebrating the beginnings of our great state, right here in Washington-on-the-Brazos, nestled between the Barrington Farm and the Jordan Creek. That’s where Texas became Texas.
Cornyn, a Republican, is the senior United States Senator from Texas.