March 2nd, Texas Independence Day, a day unlike any other in the great Lone Star State. Not only do we here at The Texas Horn celebrate our historic launch as a conservative student-run newspaper, but what better way to premiere than on the birthday of the greatest state in the Union, the biggest and brightest star on Old Glory! It was on this magnificent day in the year of Our Lord 1836, when the Delegates to the Convention on Washington-on-the-Brazos solemnly declared,
“We, therefore, the delegates, with plenary powers, of the people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare, that our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free, sovereign, and independent republic, and are fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent nations.”
Amid a long and enduring battle at the Alamo, a new nation was born, and a new destiny forged. Now, how significant is this holiday in the hearts and minds of tried-and-true native-born Texans everywhere? The answer to this question can be found no further than on our very own campus here at the University of Texas at Austin!
I am always taken aback by the rich history of the university and how it is but a mirror reflection of the very state it calls home. It is worth noting that despite all the student-led campus activism inspired by many on the left who claim to “Feel the Bern” and continue to gripe about student debt forgiveness, an end to what they call “systemic racism” and “oppression,” equal rights for women and gays, and a $15/hr. minimum wage, it is amazing to me how much most students take for granted everything that the university is, let alone, was. When someone asks me, “where can I find Garrison Hall,” my response is simple, “Up the tower steps and to the right.”
Garrison Hall, for those who have never noticed, is adorned with the names of the very Texas heroes who paid the ultimate price in the fields of Goliad and within the walls of the Alamo for us to have not only our state but our university. Names such as Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, James Fannin, William B. Travis, James Bowie, and David G. Burnet. Just beneath these names are marked the numerous cattle brands of the various Texas ranches such as the Flying W of King Ranch and the XIT Ranch in the Panhandle that helped define the very identity of our state and that of the entire American Southwest, all beneath the shadow of the Lone Star flag which flies to the right of the Main Building on campus when viewed from the front. Every year on this special day, the Main Building is lit burnt orange to remind us all why we are a state, and ultimately why our university can exist.
Unbeknownst to many, Texas Independence Day is deeply woven in the fabric of the University of Texas at Austin’s traditions. In fact, the celebration of this day goes all the way back to 1896, involving, in the words of the Texas Exes Alumni Association, “a missed class day, a spiked cannon, and a day spent at Scholz Garten.” Then-university president, George Winston, caved to the demands and pressures of the UT student body by permitting them to take March 2nd off as a university holiday, he conceded by giving the following statement to the assembled student body in from of Old Main (the precursor to the current Main Building),
“I was born in the land of liberty, rocked in the cradle of liberty, nursed on the bottle of liberty, and I’ve had liberty preached to me all my life, but Texas University students take more liberty than anyone I’ve ever come in contact with.”
The students responded with the following (now unknown and unpracticed) yell,
“Hullabaloo! Hoo-ray! Hoo-ray!
Hullabaloo! Hoo-ray! Hoo-ray!
Varsity! Varsity! U. T. A.!”
It wasn’t until 1900, however, that the Texas Exes Alumni Association formally issued a proclamation regarding the celebration of March 2nd, which read, “Whenever two ex-students of the University of Texas meet on March Second, Texas Independence Day, they shall sit and break bread together and pay tribute to the founders of the Republic of Texas, who made our education possible.”
It is, therefore, imperative that every student and alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin know the history of the university and why things exist on campus the way they are because after all, UT history is Texas History. To be a proud Longhorn is to be a proud Texan, so, go do yourself a favor and crack open an ice-cold Shiner, throw your horns up into the air, and every time the Texas Longhorns sports team take either the field or the court, always, as the heroes of San Jacinto famously cried, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!”