Over time, every community in the great state of Texas has earned or acquired a legacy that defines it.
Whether it is ethnicity, geography, culture or history, the legacy that defines any given community is earned over time. Most communities embrace their legacy which in turn, serves to transcend the legacy over future generations.
In Gonzales we are fortunate to have a wonderful legacy of ethnicity, agriculture and more prominently, history. We are the Come and Take It city, the heroes of the First Shot and the Immortal 32. What happened on land located in Gonzales 185 years ago led to the Texas Revolution and eventually Texas Independence. That is history, but it is our legacy.
This week we celebrate Texas Independence. Tuesday was Texas Independence Day, an historic day for all Texans with the declaration of independence declared 184 years ago on Washington-on-the-Brazos.
But it all started in Gonzales months before that. When Santa Ana’s cavalry rode into Gonzales to reclaim the cannon it gave local denizens to fight off the Comanche Indians, it was met with a firm “Come and Take It! But you’ll suffer great remorse!” Then the First Shot was fired, and the battle was joined. A few months later, Santa Anna moved his legions to San Antonio and surrounded Colonel Travis in the Alamo. Travis’ call for help was answered only by the Immortal 32 from Gonzales who marched off on Feb. 27 only to meet certain death in the next week. One of the most stirring pieces of Texas history was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Michener.
In his epic 1985 novel about our state in his book appropriately named Texas, here are the stirring words Michener wrote to describe the Immortal 32 and their role in Texas history:
In the entire history of Texas there would be none braver than these thirty-two from Gonzales, for each man in this heroic file could say to himself, between thundering heartbeats: I know I’m marching to almost certain death, and I know it’s insane, but I prize freedom above life itself.
It has been 184 years since those brave and heroic men marched off to die for freedom. This is the week we take time to remember our history and legacy. On Sunday of this past week, 32 men reenacted the arrival of the Immortal 32 at the Alamo with serious aplomb and stoic recognition of who they represented. On Tuesday, Gonzales gathered at Heroes Square to remember Texas Independence Day. On Friday, a gathering of direct descendants of the Immortal 32 and the 18 will hold a solemn ceremony at the Memorial Museum at 11:30 a.m. What is even more impressive, members and leaders of the present-day Alamo will be on hand to lay a wreath at the Immortal 32 Memorial to pay homage to the ultimate full measure of devotion given by this area’s forefathers.
We urge all Gonzales-area citizens to take time this week to remember and reflect. Come to grips with the great legacy this area’s ancestors have bestowed upon us and that succeeding generations have nurtured. Steel your own resolve to preserve, honor and protect our monuments and our history.
But more importantly, give thanks and remember your legacy: But I prize freedom above life itself. Come and Take It! But you will suffer great remorse!
Happy Independence Week everyone.