WASHINGTON, March 2 -
Mr. Speaker, throughout history, people who have been abused by oppressive dictators have stood up and risked their lives in the name of freedom and independence.
Freedom fighters are the most powerful catalysts for change and their potential to alter history is unlimited.
This country knows the power of revolution better than any other. On July 4, 1776, after fighting for independence from Britain, the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence.
But there is another independence day that is not to be forgotten. For Texans, July 4th is not the only day to celebrate independence. This Friday, March 2, we will celebrate the 176th anniversary of Texas Independence.
Texas, a part of Mexico, had enjoyed the privileges of citizens under the Mexican Constitution of 1824.
Trouble started when Santa Anna became dictator of Mexico and abolished the Constitution and took away civil rights.
This led to the outbreak of revolution in October of 1835, both from Tejanos, Texans of Spanish and Mexican descent, and people from the United States.
Santa Anna with his three armies invaded Texas to put down rebellion. So on March 1, 54 Texians, including Lorenzo de Zavala, Thomas Rusk, Antonio Navarro and Sam Houston, gathered in the small village of Washington-on-the-Brazos.
Inspired by the American Revolution and the United States Declaration of Independence, the delegates drafted a Declaration of Independence overnight.
The declaration was signed on March 2 and the Republic of Texas was officially established.
As these determined delegates declared independence, Mexican dictator Santa Anna and several thousands of enemy troops closed in on an old beat-up Spanish mission that we now call the Alamo.
But Texas defenders stood defiant, stood determined. They were led by my hero, a lawyer by the name of William Barrett Travis who was just 27 years old.
The Alamo and its 186 Texans were all that stood between t