San Jacinto Day 2006

It's San Jacinto Day in Texas -- the anniversary of the battle that won Texas independence from Mexico in 1836 -- and it's being remembered with a lot of traditional pomp, ceremony and noisy fun at the San Jacinto Monument this weekend. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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San Jacinto Day is a state holiday equal to the fourth of July for a lot of people. Every year at the San Jacinto Monument, the Sons and Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Texas Historical Commission cosponsor activities that include a 19th century Texian village and a re-enactment of the battle. At the kickoff ceremonies today, re-enactor and historian David Pomeroy said they've worked hard in recent years to make San Jacinto Day less of an "Anglo" holiday and include the state's hispanic population, by honoring the Mexican soldiers who died at San Jacinto.

"We've had the special ceremony for all the Mexicans that died on the battlefield, because there was no official last rites for them. So about three years ago, we had the Archbishop out, then we walked out with a wreath to the nature preserve, and laid the wreath on the water, symbolically putting them to rest."

San Jacinto Re-enactment

Pomeroy says tomorrow's re-enactment will cover the entire Texas Revolution -- all the battles that led up to the final battle at San Jacinto. Festivities include 19th century Texian villages they hope will resemble life on the Texas frontier as it was back then.

"Well we're gonna have three camps. We're gonna have the civilian camp, the Texian camp and the Mexican camp. These will be open all day long, until about 2:30, for you to come in and visit with the people. They'll talk to you historically about what's going on, they'll show you historical crafts that they're doing, and just try to acclimate you to how life was in 1836."

Unfortunately, the San Jacinto Monument itself is closed for much needed repairs and renovations, but Sarita Hixon of the Texas Historical Commission says it should reopen sometime soon.

"We expect it to be open in just a matter of a few more weeks, surely by mid to late May. The observation deck will take a little longer, probably the end of July or August before we can reopen the observation deck, but the theater and the displays, the gallery, the gift shop, all of those will be open hopefully by mid May."

Festivities begin at 10am tomorrow, and the battle re-enactment starts at 3pm. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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