LETTERS: On Cinco de Mayo and other Texas history dates and Brownsville’s Prayer Day

Cinco de Mayo & April 21

Today on Cinco de Mayo, the entire Rio Grande Valley will be celebrating the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla, when in 1862, General Ignacio Zaragoza and his Mexican soldiers defeated the French army. But who celebrates the Texas victory at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, when Gen. Sam Houston and his Texas soldiers defeated General Santa Ana and his Mexican army to win the war for Texas’ independence? This Texas victory was one of the most decisive military victory in Texas and American history, while only suffering nine Texas fatalities, Mexico suffered 600 fatalities and over 650 Mexican soldiers were taken prisoner.

On the battlefield that day, Capt. Juan Seguin and his 20 Tejanos fought along side Gen. Houston and his soldiers, according to Seguin’s memoirs. Texas history had always assumed only 20 Tejanos were fighting for Texas independence that day, but now according to a recently discovered petition to the state comptrollers office for pensions that were not granted to Tejanos who fought for Texas independence, the more correct figure is almost 120.

Houston ordered Lt. Salvador Flores, Seguin’s second-in-command, to take 25 Tejanos to patrol the ranches and settlements south of San Antonio; about 20 Tejanos, including Blas Herrera, Seguin’s favorite scout, were transferred to Deaf Smith’s company of scouts; about 30 Tejanos were sent east to escort and protect Texas families; three men were sick and left at San Felipe, at least 10 were in Harrisburg, and five stayed behind to care for the horses, at the moment of the Battle of San Jacinto.

On April 21, I fly my Texas flag to honor and remember the bravery and courage of all those Texans and Tejanos who fought and died for Texas’ independence. And whether those Tejanos were on the battlefield or serving as guides, guards, scouts, messengers, infantry or calvary, they were fighting for Texas against Mexico. ¡Viva Tejas y vivan los Tejanos!

Jack Ayoub, Harlingen

Brownsville’s Prayer Day

Prayer Day was held Thursday in Brownsville. I recalled that a nun once told me, “The hour in church does not matter; it’s what you do all the hours and days you are away.”

With that in mind, here’s hoping that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott begins to alter what he does when not in prayer.

For starters: He should drop his support of the death penalty; drop his opposition to sanctuary cities; back off on anti-LGBT legislation; move from an anti-environmental stance to a positive one; accept federal healthcare funds, including those for Planned Parenthood, and better support public education institutions, rather than charter schools.

It’s a lot to ponder and once out of prayer I wonder what actions Abbott will take: his old, narrow and familiar ones, or new and accepting steps?

Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, Brownsville