Senator Barrientos' Remarks

at the State Capitol - March 2, 2004

State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos has been a long time supporter of celebrating this State's history and culture. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Celebrate Texas, Inc. since its inception and for many, many years sponsored the annual celebration of Texas Independence Day at the State Capitol. It is a distinct pleasure and honor to be associated with such a staunch and unabashed believer in the promotion of the unique history of our land. On March 2, 2004, Senator Barrientos gave the following speech in the rotunda of our State Capitol. We appreciate his thoughts and his willingness to let us share them with you.

Charlie Yates

Texas Senator Gonzalo Barrientos' Remarks
Texas Independence Day, March 2, 2004

Happy Birthday, Texas -- Feliz Cumplianos, Tejas -- today our great State is 168 years old.

Let me welcome you to our State Capitol for our sixth annual Texas Independence Day celebration.

I am glad that through legislation that I and others sponsored during the last session of the legislature, March is now ''Texas History Month" in our State.  It is our hope that schools and communities across Texas will now schedule more events such as these to remember and honor our State's history.  It is important for Texas school children to have a sense of the rich and unique history of our State.

And there can be no argument that our great expansive State has a rich and unique history.   Those brave Texans who 168 years ago sought to bring sovereignty to Texas were motivated not just by the desire to live free -- they also wanted to pass on to future generations the spirit that had been forged by their shared struggles to liberate Texas.

We remember the Alamo and we remember Goliad . . . But it is the spirit that Sam Houston, William Travis, Jose Antonio Navarro, Llorenzo de Zavala, Davy Crockett,  and the many others who gained independence for Texas that has sustained Texans throughout our history.  And it is that spirit which still distinguishes us, and why so many folks unlucky enough not to be born in Texas try to "get here as fast as they can."

As a native Texan, I marvel at the majesty of our great State.  From the piney woods and rich farmland of east Texas to the sagebrush and mountains of west Texas… from the citrus groves and sandy beaches of south Texas to the Palo Duro canyons of the panhandle -- ours is a state as diverse in nature as the people who came to inhabit our land almost two centuries ago.

And in all the years since gaining our independence in 1836, our State has grown even more diverse.  The colors and fabrics of our people have only multiplied and added strength to our Texas spirit.

As a Texan of Mexican descent, I am especially proud of the ''Tejanos'' who contributed as much to the cause for Texas independence as Houston, Travis, Crockett and others.  And I am proud of the fact that Texas has become a more diverse State.

Since gaining independence, the Republic and State of Texas has welcomed many more people and cultures to its land.  Today, we can traverse the state and come upon Mexican, German, Czech, Polish, Irish, Hungarian and many other thriving communities that were settled by families drawn here by our Texas spirit, and the opportunity afforded those willing to work hard.  More recently, Texas has been blessed by the infusion of many Asian cultures, among others, further enriching our State.
Those gallant and heroic men who signed our Texas Declaration of Independence 168 years ago together were Texas.  They stood tall and laid the foundation from which we could build the Texas of today.  That is their legacy and their sacrifice, and we proudly honor both today. 

All is not done for Texas.  We are good, but not perfect -- so we have much yet to do.  It is our duty to maintain what is most precious to any Texan -- our spirit.  That is what makes us unique in the eyes of the world.  So happy birthday, Texas!!

To celebrate Texas Independence Day, we have groups to entertain us that are truly reflective of our slogan
 ''Together, We're Texas.''
Copyright © 2004  Gonzalo Barrientos

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