NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Hurrah for Texas! These were the very words used by Adolphus Sterne, an East Texan who led troops to victory over Mexico. 175 years later, the words are being shouted again to mark the battle of San Jacinto.
Thirty-nine names are called, all from Nacogdoches County. East Texans honor them and others who fought in the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.
"They went into battle and found Santa Anna under a tree and really they didn't know who he was at first but they had him and one of his own soldiers said General and so they knew they had him," said Chairman of the celebration, Pattye Greer.
In a matter of 18 minutes, Santa Anna's armies were defeated.
"In very much a surprise victory," said Jeff Abt, President of Friends of Historic Nacogdoches Incorporated. "We'd lost battles at the Alamo and Goliad and all of East Texas and most of Central Texas was emptying out back across the Sabine running from the armies of San Jacinto."
The defeat meant one thing.
"It insured that Texas would be independent," said Abt.
"Will you come to the bower?" The same song sung by Sam Houston's army at this very battle is played Thursday. In order to preserve history and honor those who fought, the city of Nacogdoches is naming today "San Jacinto Day."
"I hereby recognize April 21, 2011 as a day for modern Nacogdoches to join voices in old Nacogdoches and say hurrah for Texas," said Nacogdoches Mayor Roger VanHorn.
The celebration is held at the Adolphus Stern home.
"Adolphus Sterne led the troops from here. He outfitted them and helped them find horses and clothes to wear. He took care of them," said Greer.
The oldest town in Texas plans to carry on the tradition, raising their glasses as they toast to those who fought so hard for independence.
Earlier a live oak was planted at the Oak Grove Cemetery by the daughters of the Republic of Texas.