Mr. Speaker, in the early morning hours it was cold, damp, and dark in the old, beat-up Spanish mission. It was the Alamo.

It was March 6, 1836. It was a battle for Texas independence.

The volunteers were from most of the States and several foreign countries, including Mexico. The small band of 186 Texians and Tejanos, led by defiant Colonel William Barrett Travis, had already repelled two attempts by Dictator Santa Anna and his army of thousands to take the garrison. 

But on this morning, after a fierce battle, the enemy overwhelmed the volunteers and killed them all. Survivors were murdered.

However, Travis wrote in a letter on March 3 that ‘‘a victory by the enemy will cost Santa Anna more than defeat.’’ He was right.

The enemy losses were staggering. The Alamo volunteers gave General Sam Houston time to organize another army.

So, on April 21, Houston and his troops vanquished and routed the enemy and secured Texas independence. Then Texas was a republic for 9 years.

Independence was successful because the valiant, relentless Alamo defenders believed death was preferable to tyranny. Today we honor their sacrifice on the altar of liberty.

And that is just the way it is.