Monday, February 29, 2016

For Want of a Texas Education

When I was a kid growing up in Texas in the 1960’s and 70’s, every Texas school student was taken on one or two “field trips” to historical sites around Texas.  Throughout the school year, buses loaded with children from all over Texas headed for these sites sacred to the history of Texas. We went to the Alamo, we went to the San Jacinto Battlefield, and we went to Washington-on-the-Brazos.  Schools don’t seem to do that anymore.  I guess it’s not on the STAAR test, so it must not be deemed important enough to teach. Not one of my four children was ever taken to visit any of these historic sites by their schools in order to learn those aspects of their history and their culture which are so distinctly Texan.

As my children’s education was found lacking, I made sure that they visited all of these sites and knew who James Bowie, William Barret Travis, David Crockett, Sam Houston, and the 59 signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence were and how they laid down the foundation upon which the Texas of today was built.

Texas Independence Day, March 2, used to be a holiday in Texas and every school child in Texas was given the day off to visit these sites revered in Texas history. Texas Independence Day marks the anniversary of the day that Texas declared its independence, ceased to be part of Mexico and became an independent nation – The Republic of Texas.  Alas, Texas Independence Day has not been celebrated as a school holiday for many decades.

If you are a brand new Texan or a 7th generation Texan and would like to further your education of what it means to be a Texan, then you, your children, and your grandchildren should go out to Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site on Saturday and Sunday, March 5 and 6, 2016, for the Texas Independence Day Celebration.  Learn your history at The Star of the Republic Museum, the only museum in Texas dedicated exclusively to the study of the Texas Revolutionary and Republic of Texas periods (1830’s-1840’s).  Visit Barrington Living History Farm and walk through the original plantation home of Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas and the man most responsible for the annexation of Texas by the United States of America. Then, go to Independence Hall and stand on the exact spot where the founding fathers of Texas bravely and unanimously adopted the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836 while the battle of the Alamo was still raging. 

Independence Hall, the Star of the Republic Museum and Barrington Living History Farm are all free on March 5 and 6, 2016 during the Texas Independence Day Celebration.  There will be plenty of music, food, historical re-enactors, artisans, vendors, etc. Located between Brenham and Navasota, it’s a short day trip. Don’t wait for a bus. Go and stand on the exact spot where Texas became Texas and be proud that you are a Texan!

Kameron K. Searle