From Two Stars To One, Then 28!

I love our flag of red, white, and blue. The flag guarantees freedom and liberty to all who live under its majesty. Flags tell the history of the country. “Old Glory” is the superior flag that is above all others as her pennant waves and snaps in the wind. Each star represents other flags that fly beside her. The flag of Texas and its famous star tells a story of another flag that once flew over the broad expanse of Texas.

When Mexico received independence from Spain in 1821, Tejas was a vast wilderness. We all know the story of Stephen F. Austin and his dealings with the Mexican government. Although Tejas was a state in Mexico, it lacked the population to govern itself as any other independent state in Mexico. Mexico City linked Tejas to another state named Coahuila. The Governor of Coahuila governed Tejas as well as his own state. The joint statehood was named “Coahuila y Tejas.” The Texians as they were called wanted their state to be self-governing under the Mexican national flag. This notion of a self-governing state under Mexico’s rule was the Texians’ guiding desire as they did not want to break away from Mexico. If one looks at the flag displayed here, one can see the problem immediately.

Coahuila y Tejas Flag

The pictured flag is the state flag of Coahuila y Tejas. Many scholars believe this was the flag that flew over the Alamo during the battle. Travis mentioned a flag, but gave no description of it in his famous letter. The official painting of the Battle of the Alamo in the Capitol shows an “1824” flag. Regardless, the flag did not work for Texians. They repeatedly told the Mexican government they did not want to be under the authority of the Governor of Coahuila. They said the two-star flag detailed their issue-they wanted their own star. Only a one-star flag would do! They wanted their own Lone Star above all else!

After San Jacinto, the people of Texas voted Sam Houston into office, but a secondary straw vote was taken on the same ballot. Nearly 100% of the voters wanted to enter the USA immediately as did Sam Houston. That desire took nearly ten years to fulfill. When that fateful day finally arrived, Dr. Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas gently lowered the national flag of Texas amid flowing tears and thoughts of those heroes lost in freedom’s fight. Jones respectfully lowered the national flag and announced that the “Republic of Texas is no more.” He folded the republic’s venerated flag and handed it to a man who stood near the flagpole holding the new national flag. 

Republic & State of Texas Flag

The man with the new flag unfurled the banner and the assembled crowd counted the stars – 28. The newest star was in the lower left corner of the blue field. The greatest hero in the pantheon of Texas heroes, Sam Houston, the first United States Senator from Texas attached the new banner to the halyard and raised it for the first time on Texas soil. The crowd’s tears turned to unmitigated joy as they saw the new flag rising. 

Many of the onlookers and Houston himself recalled the old two-star flag that ultimately initiated the long walk to American citizenship. Flags mean something. After the national colors assumed their rightful place, the state flag of Texas, identical to the republic’s lone star, was raised at even elevation – but never higher. No governor of another state would ever give orders or rule over Texas; the two-star flag taught everyone that lesson. Flags have the ability to convey stories and evoke emotions that connect people to their shared heritage and values. Flags mean everything. I will never bend a knee or show any other sign of disrespect to my flag – ever. God Bless the Lone Star State and the United States of America! 

Senator Sam Houston (D-TX)

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