Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rules to live by: (1) Always post a sentry during the afternoon siesta; (2) Choose your underwear very carefully.

Today is a day dear to the hearts of Texans everywhere, young and old, near and far, past, present, and probably future. For the record, I was not born in Texas. I moved there when I was six and moved away when I was 20, but I received a thorough indoctrination while there.

Today is the 173rd anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto that occurred on April 21, 1836, not far from present-day Houston. If you are not familiar with the battle, you can read all about it here. I hope you take the time to read the entire article, because it is a truly fascinating account. If you do, then and only then will you understand the title of this post.

Texans, being Texans, are justifiably proud of having defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna’s Mexican forces in a fight that lasted just 18 minutes. Hundreds of Mexican soldiers were killed or captured, but only nine Texans died.

Texans, being Texans, decided to erect a little monument in recognition of that fact. The San Jacinto Monument turned out to be the world’s tallest memorial column, 55 feet taller than the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

And Texans, being Texans, also decided to engrave the following modest inscription on the base of the monument:

“Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas (not part of the United States at the time) from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican-American War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty.”

As Mama used to say, “Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back.”

Still, my indoctrination seems to have worked. Today’s post is about San Jacinto.


  1. My mother always told me to wear clean underwear in case I was in an accident. I always thought it was a courtesy to the ambulance drivers. But maybe it had its origin here...

  2. Thanks for yet another great history lesson relevant to the day's date. Certainly, Texas has an interesting and colorful history. Oh, my....too funny that proud Santa Anna's identity was verified by his silk underwear!

  3. One of my favourite moments in one of my favourite films (Local Hero) is when Russian fisherman Victor sings "Lone Star Man" - in a tiny Scottish village!


  4. Oh ya everything is BIG in Texas.
    I can't get over how large the airport is.
    Now I will read the story.lol

  5. Great Story .
    Sam Houston had his wits about him.

  6. Well you did take me back a spell with ol Sam Houston.
    I read the book The Raven when I was a girl over and over and over again.
    He was Kalanu, the White Raven, a name given to him by I guess the Cherokee.I loved that book but I never knew it was about a real person.
    I still have that book and as soon as I find it, I will read it again.
    Now that I have the whole story of Sam, I think I will dress up that book and make it a keep sake and include the rest of his history in it.
    He doesn't look anything like I pictured him to be. I thought he looked more like the Clint Eastwood type.lol Thanks for the story.

  7. I wondered what sort of comments this post might bring. Thanks, everyone, for your usual brilliance!

    Pat - You made me think of Florida instead of Texas. Yeehaw Junction is out in the middle of nowhere on the Florida Turnpike, between Kissimmee-St.Cloud and Fort Pierce. Been there many times.

    Rosezilla (Tracie) - Courtesy to the ambulance drivers! That's a good one! But it cannot be ascertained from the article that General Santa Anna's silk underwear was clean. Rather the opposite, I would think.

    Jeannelle - And it must not have helped that he was saluted and called "El Presidente" either!

    Katherine - I am unfamiliar with that movie. Thanks for the clip and for bringing Local Hero to my attention! I am enjoying your current series of posts about your Auckland-to-London trip with your daughter.

    A Lady's Life - I presume you are talking about the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Humongous, isn't it?

    Sam Houston was from Tennessee, I believe, and did interact with the Cherokee Indians before he went to Texas. He even shows up as a character in their famous annual outdoor drama, Unto These Hills, performed every summer for nearly 60 years in Cherokee, North Carolina.

  8. Another great history lesson. I am now glad that I own no silk underwear and the dog always keeps watch.datic

  9. Ahh, thank you for the history lesson - and for the intriguing title that prompted my visit. There is a miniature monument like this one in Hermann Park, near downtown Houston. I knew it was a monument to the Battle, but I moved to Texas at a post-indoctrination age, and I never did take the time to read about the battle until now. I guess it's probably one of the markers of the army's campsites like the wikipedia article mentions..

  10. Dr. John - Dogs make the best sentries, don't they? Except mine, after barking very loudly, would probably lick an intruder to death.

    pictureeachday - I didn't know about the miniature San Jacinto monument. Reminds me of the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, which is 3/5 scale of the permanent one in Washington at 300 feet long and six feet tall. How tall is the miniature San Jacinto monument? Thanks, by the way, for visiting my blog. Come back often!