One-hundred sixty-nine years ago Sunday, the battle for the Alamo reached it's climactic conclusion. Just days before, the Republic of Texas had been formed, an event commemorated every year at the site where it happened: Washington-on-the-Brazos.
"At these celebrations, you will find people from, literally, all over this great nation and other parts of the world that want to come," said State Sen. Kenneth Armbrister, D-District 18. "And once they get here, they're infected by the spirit."
"This wasn't a place of battle, so there was no bloodshed here," said State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-District 13. "But they were a think-tank. We're really where there were men that gathered here to say, 'we're going to declare our independence.'"
The master of ceremony for Sunday's celebration was Houston broadcasting legend Ron Stone.
"As many times as I've come here, as many times as I've walked on these grounds, I still am amazed at how much bravery was required for people to sit down and do this," Stone said.
While actors on a stage recreated the event Sunday, it was in a hall just down the path from that stage where the republic was born. A declaration and constitution were drafted in a building with a draft. It was still under construction, with no windows, no doors. The temperatures were below freezing, and the men who huddled together for 17 days were from all parts of the country.
"These men that had no strong ties to Texas, never lived here, didn't have kinfolk in Texas, risked everything, risked their own family, their own lives to come out to Texas and to work on creating a new government," said Bubba Lamolinare, who works at Washington-on-the-Brazos as an interpreter.
"And then there is "The White House of Texas," the home of Anson Jones, the final president of the republic. It was he, in 1846, who announced Texas had become part of the United States. The message Sunday, though, was the storied history of the state and the republic should not be forgotten."
"One of the things Texas used to be known for is the fact that every school child in the state of Texas knew what happened on March 2," said Stone. "They knew what happened at Washington-on-the-Brazos, as they knew what happened at the Alamo, as they knew what happened at San Jacinto. It's not that way anymore, and I think it's important that we commemorate events like this so that people, once again, realize that Texas has a very proud heritage, and we need to keep it alive as best we can."