Mr. Speaker, the Alamo is the most important place in Texas and in Texas History.
It is the definition of all things Texan.
It is about the people.
The Texians--The Tejanos who gave their last full measure of devotion to a cause greater than life itself--Liberty.
It is about the beginning of our 9 years as a sovereign Republic.
It is a symbol of the fierce independent streak that runs through our veins.
Behind those crumbling church walls of the Alamo, there is a spirit that has forever shown the world shown who we are as Texans--our character: defiant, bold, fearless, fighters for freedom.
The Alamo instills yet today an almost mystical spirit in all Texans native, and recent arrivals of pride.
187 Volunteers of all races; frontiersmen, lawyers, farmers, shopkeepers; men from Spain, Mexico, Germany, Scotland, England, most of the states and native Texians who were led by my hero Colonel
William Barrett Travis, stood in righteous defiance against a dictator and tyranny.
Such men as Davy Crockett (Tennessee), Jose Gregorio Esparza (Tejano), James Bonham (South Carolina), James Bowie (Louisiana), and Brigido Guerrero (Mexican soldier that switched sides) and 180 more, stood their ground against the invaders.
All have personal stories.
Knowing and despite of the overwhelming odds, those Texians and
Tejanos fell to their death rather than submit to oppression.
They first embodied the phrase ``Don't Mess with Texas.''
It is quite a remarkable story.
No people anywhere have such a history of how they all, gave all.
From the ashes of the burning Alamo--the phoenix of a republic was born, because of these Freedom Fighters of 1836.
After the Battle of the Alamo, Texas gained independence on the plains of San Jacinto where Sam Houston and his boys defeated the invaders.
Then, Texas remained an independent nation for nine years.
I first came to the Alamo as a kid in Mrs. Wilson's Texas history class in Houston.
A lot has changed since then.
It has changed even more since 1836.
There was no Five and Dime Woolworths store across the street.
Neither was there a tattoo parlor.
Colonel Travis didn't buy a $54.99 combo ticket for Ripley's Believe It or Not either.
The years of encroachment and commercialization of sacred ground, where the blood of the Sons of Texas consecrated the land should be a deep concern for all Texans and Americans, not just the citizens of the great city of San Antonio.
As Land Commissioner George P. Bush said, ``When people visit the
Alamo, almost all are underwhelmed with the small size of the Alamo grounds.''
Visionary, Land Commissioner George P. Bush has presented a bold plan to restore the Alamo battlefield to much of what it was in 1836.
I strongly support the efforts of Commissioner Bush, Mayor Nirenburg, and the San Antonio City Council on approval of the Alamo Master Plan to make sure Texans, and the world visitors know that our history is like no other place--because there is but one Alamo.
San Antonio recently approved leasing land to the State of Texas to implement this plan.
I congratulate them on doing so.
Texas heritage is unique--our heritage is unique.
Alamo Commander Travis has inspired my life.
His letter was on my wall at the court house when I was a judge.
It is proudly displayed in my office in Washington.
At the bottom of my stationary are the words ``I shall never surrender or retreat.''
My first grandson is named Barrett Houston.
And I end all my letters as did Travis: God and Texas.
The Alamo deserves nothing but topnotch care and preservation, restoration of the 1836 battlefield footprint, and an accompanying museum to display the hundreds of Alamo artifacts that are uniquely Texan.
The Alamo, 100 years old at the time of the battle, has incurred much disrespect and neglect.
For example, in the 1800's the Federal Army used the church as a barn, warehouse, and stable until the Catholic Church reclaimed it.
Fortunately, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, now the State of Texas, are making sure history is preserved.
But, most importantly, we must ensure that the history of the Alamo and its relentless defenders is accurately told.
Including the history of the families that stayed with their husbands, fathers, and sons.
There is no room for revisionist history at the sacred ground of Texas liberty.
As a lifelong student of our Texas history, I am excited to see the Alamo and its battlefield returned to life.
So, congratulations to Land Commissioner Bush and the members of the San Antonio City Council who had the privilege, honor and yes, duty, to put their names in history as the men and women who ultimately heard the reverberating ``Remember the Alamo'' battle cry, took action, crossed the line in the sand, to keep this beacon of Liberty forever shining in this place we call the Alamo of Texas.
God and Texas.
And that's just the way it is.