Mr. Speaker, the year was 1836. To many, this year does not signify much.

For Texans everywhere, 1836 shaped the course of our history and spirit. In February of 1836, the troops of General Santa Anna invaded the Alamo where many Texians gave their lives in the struggle for independence.

General Santa Anna and his troops numbered between 1,800 and 6,000 men. The 200 Texians occupying the Alamo stood ready to defend their country. All of the men in the Alamo would give their lives for Texan independence that night.

General Santa Anna had ordered his men to take no prisoners. Among the few that survived were Susana Dickinson and her daughter, Angelina. Susana Dickinson and her daughter had moved to San Antonio because her husband, Almeron Dickinson, had wanted them close to him.

When the Mexican troops arrived in San Antonio, Almeron Dickinson moved his family into the Alamo. Although Susana and Angelina survived the siege of the Alamo, Almerson and the rest of the men did not. Susana was found hiding in the powder magazine by General Juan Almonte and sent to General Santa Anna, where she found her daughter sitting on his lap.

General Santa Anna released her with the condition that she go to Camp Gonzalez and warn the Texas troops that he would kill them as he had killed the men in the Alamo. However, in accordance with true Texas spirit, it is believed that instead of delivering a threat, she delivered a war cry for the Texans.

As a result of the siege and her husband’s death, Susana was forced to live in poverty for years. She faced multiple unsuccessful marriages and a difficult life but her spirit remained strong. As a survivor of the Alamo, she lived to tell about the heroic fight for freedom against an oppressive and cruel dictator.

The Alamo stands as a pillar of hope and is the single most significant structure in Texas history. Susana Dickinson’s story of the brave, heroic men who drew a line in the sand and fought for Texas’s freedom will live in the history books, reminding future generations of Texans just what this great state stands for.

Her spirit and bravery will live on in Texas history.

And that’s just the way it is.