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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - April 24, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas 7 f    —    Herald-Zeitunc — Sunday, April 24, 2011 Texas marks anniversary of San Jacinto The Associated Press Obama knows his political fortunes are tied to gas prices U PORTE- As significant battles go, the size of the armies involved in the decisive clash that allowed Texas to become its own nation. 175 years ago this week was relatively modest. More compelling was the meager duration of the fighting at San Jacinto— just 18 minutes. But in true Texas fashion, the monument that marks the short battle is 536 feet tall — the world's tallest war memorial. lo some historians, the April 21, 1836, engagement between the ragtag 900-man lexian amiy and the mon* formally trained 1300-man Mexican army is a metaphor for the I/me Star State. “We’ll make something big out of something small,” says Izirry Spasic, president of the San Jacinto Museum of History Association, peering through a narrow rectangular window near the top of the San Jacinto Monument that marks the battlefield. file climax of the Iexas Rev-olution immediately cost Mexico nearly 1 million acres. I he Republic of Texas was annexed by the 1 Jnited States about a decade later and an ensuing border dispute became the U.S.-Mexico War in 1846. In the context of history, the lexians’ victory is seen as ultimately paving the way for the westward expansion of the United States, fulfilling the nation’s Manifest Destiny. As they have for generations, Texans will gather Thursday, a state holiday, to mark the anniversary at the battleground, a state park just east of I Jouston and along the Houston Ship Channel. On the site, (*en. Sam Houston’s f orces surprised Gen, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his Mexican soldiers who were taking a late afternoon siesta, drew thousands of spectators. Historians see the annual celebrations now as a monument to efforts by boosters and lawmakers building up Texas during the progressive era of the early 20th century, promoting the state as a place for heroes and downplaying its participation on the losing side in the U.S. Cavil War, which this year marks a milestone anniversary, No. 150. "We wanted a story of winners and San Jacinto was a battle where it was clear cut, ain’t no question about it, by (»oc! the Texans kicked some a—,” said Rick McCaslin, history department chair at the University of North Texas. " I hey gave us a usable history, one that makes us feel good about ourselves, one that embraces a winning legacy- "These people were geniuses." To this day, Texas school children learn to celebrate San Jacinto and the Alamo, perpetuating the Iexas identity, “It works, doesn’t it?” McCaslin said. "Go overseas and people want to know how many oil wells you own, how many cattle you run and how come you’re not wearing boots. And that I )avy Crockett, wasn't he something? Rut don’t remind them he wasn’t from Texas.” State historian Jjght Cummings, a history professor at Austin College in Sherman, agrees Texans respond more to celebrating the iexas Revolution, their attachment and love for the state, and have little interest in the Civil War or its impact on Texas. “ Iexas today is no longer a southern state in the classic sense,” he said. “We are urban and industrial, and many Texans of our era do not descend from those who lought the Civil War on the southern side.” WASHINGTON (AP) — With gas prices climbing and little relief in sight, President Barack Obama is scrambling to get ahead of the latest potential obstacle to his re-election bid, even as Republi-cans are making plans to exploit the issue. No one seems more aware of the [>eril than Obama. “My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis, and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people," he said last week. In fact, Obama raised the issue unsolicited in a series of town meetings in Virginia, California and Nevada that were ostensibly about his deficit-reduction plan. And he made the gas spike the subject of his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. It’s just another burden when things were already pretty tough,” he said. As he knows, Americans love their cars and remain heavily dependent on them, and they don’t hesitate to punish politicians when the cost of filling their tanks goes through the roof. Indeed, for presidents, responding to surges is a recurring frustration. “These gas prices are killing you right now,” Obama said at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, acknowledging that many Americans can’t afford new fuel-efficient cars and must drive older models.. For some, he said, the cost of a fill-up has all but erased the benefit of the payroll tax holiday that he and congressional Republicans agreed on last December. On Saturday, Obama insisted in his radio and Internet address that the best answer Is a long-term drive to develop alternatives to fossil fuel. He also renewed calls to end $4 billion in subsidies for oil and gas companies. "Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy sources,” he said, "we need to invest in tomorrow’s.” Republicans contend that high gas prices are the inevitable result of an administration they accuse of stifling domestic drilling, and which placed new curbs on offshore exploration after last spring’s disastrous BP oil spill. "The administration has declared what can only be described as a war on American energy,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. 680 S. 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