Madam Speaker, as Texans we are proud of our fight for independence. We often celebrate the courage and sacrifice made by the Alamo defenders. We boast of the cunning and valor displayed by the victorious troops at the Battle of San Jacinto. When celebrating these two historic events, I would be remiss not to mention the vital role that Juan Seguin played in both of those battles.
Juan Seguin was born in 1806 at San Antonio, in what was then Mexico. He soon grew tired of President Santa Anna's policies and in 1835, he responded to a call for support by raising a company of Tejanos, Texans of Hispanic descent, to aid in the revolution. In October of 1835, following a battle in Bexar, Stephen F. Austin granted a captain's commission to Seguin.
Seguin's company would soon arrive at the Alamo with other Revolutionary heroes such as, Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, and William Barrett Travis, who were taking shelter as General Santa Anna's army was advancing on San Antonio.
As the Alamo came under constant bombardment, Colonel Travis sent out messengers to get help. The last messenger sent out was Juan Seguin on a mission to seek reinforcements from Colonel James Fannin to send troops from nearby Goliad to help the defenders at the Alamo. After his failed attempts to persuade Fannin, he journeyed to the ranches along the Guadalupe and San Antonio Rivers to recruit more Tejanos.
His company then met up with General Sam Houston at the town of Gonzales. There, the tragic news that the Alamo had fallen was delivered. A decision was made to burn the town of Gonzales in order to deny shelter to Santa Anna's troops.
As General Houston's armies retreated, he gave Seguin's company the task of riding into the frontier and warning the settlers of the coming danger. Because of this great service to the Texas Revolution, he has been dubbed The Paul Revere of Texas.
Later, Seguin commanded the only Tejano unit to fight in the Battle of San Jacinto. None of the Texians at San Jacinto wore uniforms on the battlefield. In order to distinguish themselves from the Mexican soldiers, only Mexican officers wore uniforms, Seguin's Tejanos wore playing cards in their hats to avoid friendly fire. After the battle, Seguin personally accepted the surrender of a number of Mexican officers. After his company's valiant effort in the battle, Seguin was promoted to Lt. Colonel. Texas liberty would not be secure without the help of the native Tejanos in this and other battles during the fight for Texas independence.
Each year, approximately 220,000 people visit the World's tallest war memorial, The San Jacinto Monument. The monument, which stands 15 feet taller then the Washington Monument, has two roads leading to the park. In honor of the contributions made by Seguin and his Tejanos one of those roads is named Juan Seguin Boulevard.
One of the oldest towns in Texas, Seguin was originally founded in 1838 near the Guadalupe River. In 1853, it was incorporated and named Walnut Springs. Six months later the name was permanently changed to Seguin. Today, the city nicknamed the Pecan Capital of Texas is home to the Texas Lutheran University. In October of 2000, the city of Seguin unveiled a 17-foot statue of its namesake in the town square. The statue depicts this Texas hero valiantly leading the charge atop a horse with his saber in hand. As I stand here one day after we celebrated the historic battle of San Jacinto that gave Texas its independence, I want to acknowledge this Texas legend that played such an instrumental role in the victory.
And that's just the way it is.