From Staff Reports
WASHINGTON – In honor of Texas Independence Day, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) read Lieutenant Colonel William Barrett Travis’ famous letter on the Senate floor. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video can be found here.
“Today is Texas Independence Day, a day for Texans to celebrate our unique history and honor the brave men and women who shaped it.”
“One courageous defender of the Alamo was a man named William Barret Travis, a lieutenant colonel in the Texas Army.”
“On February 24 of that year with his position under siege, Lieutenant Colonel Travis wrote a letter pleading for reinforcements, and I’d like to read it.”
“It was addressed to ‘the people of Texas and all Americans in the world:’”
“‘Fellow citizens and compatriots,’ he wrote.
“To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World: Fellow citizens and compatriots, 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 Barrett Travis.”
“The Travis letter is one of the most treasured documents in Texas history, and it lays bare the ideals and character of the people who founded our state, people characterized by their courage, by their sacrifice, by their devotion, by their fortitude, and a deep and strong and enduring sense of independence.”
“Here in the Senate, both Democrats and Republicans from Texas have had the honor of reading the fabled Travis letter over the years.”
“I’m glad that tradition continues today to ensure that the words of William Barret Travis live on, and generations of Texans and Americans can appreciate the courage and sacrifice they demonstrated at that time.”
“I’d like to express my gratitude for these Texas patriots, many of whom would later serve in the United States Congress, including Sam Houston, whose Senate seat I’m honored to now occupy. Their courage and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.
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