By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – Glasses of fresh, cool and locally sourced spring water will be raised in a toast at Heritage Village in honor of Texas Independence Day.
The Village is gearing up for the event, which is its annual celebration of Texas Independence Day. It will take place on Thursday, March 2. The toast of local spring water will take place at 2 p.m., while the event begins at 1.
According to Heritage Village Director Ofeira Gazzaway, the celebration will honor the annual event, and the special guests booked to appear will represent the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe.
The tribe’s Second Chief, Mikko Poliika Istaaya, Ms. Millie Thompson Williams, will appear at the event, and will speak about the tribe’s rich history as well as the state’s history.
Tribal Princess Ms. Aionna Moreno will deliver the Lord’s Prayer in American Indian Sign Language.
Also on tap to appear are the children of St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Woodville, who will lead attendees in several songs about Texas.
The event, which has served as a celebration to Texans as well as honorary Texans at Heritage Village, has been a popular happening for many years.
The event is held to coincide with the time and date in 1836 when a group gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos to sign a Declaration of Independence from Mexico, which set forth the creation of the Republic of Texas, an independent country for almost 10 years.
Texas Highways magazine suggested that Texans all commemorate the event by stopping whatever they happen to be doing at 2 p.m. on March 2 to drink a toast to Texas. In 1993, historian Joe Franz, who often contributed to the magazine composed a poem to commemorate the event.
Texas Highways, also suggested, according to Dottie Johnson’s “At the Village” column in the Feb. 23, 1994 edition of the Tyler County Booster, that those celebrating Texas Independence Day might also want to write and use an original toast, and the Heritage Society followed suit with their own toast that was used in the program.
Students in Texas History classes from area schools also got involved in writing original toasts, as well.