Texas Forever: March 2 Through the Years

How do you celebrate Texas Independence Day? From whistling to wine tasting, here’s how Texas Exes chapters have marked the occasion for over a century.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in 2013. It has been updated to include more celebrations up to 2017. 

“Whenever two Texas Exes shall meet on March 2, they all shall sit and break bread and pay tribute to the institution that made their education possible,” proclaimed the Texas Exes in 1900. More than a century later, that tradition is still strong. For decades, alumni have written to the Alcalde to report their local celebrations. Now, on the 181st anniversary of Texas Independence Day, we present a sampling of our favorites.

Texas Forever

Dallas, 1918
“The feature of the Dallas banquet was the bullometer. Several of the speakers came near wrecking this useful instrument, which rings whenever the speaker is guilty of exaggeration.”

Boston, 1928
“The Eastland horned toad was discussed by all speakers as well as being presented in verse by the toastmaster.”

Brownsville, 1935
“J. W. Holland whistled three favorite songs, accompanied at the piano by Mrs. H.L. Faulk.”

Italy, 1942
“Within range of German artillery exchanging blows with Allies guns, a handful of battle-wearied Texans gathered in a room over a cowbarn to observe the 108th anniversary of Texas Independence . . . In no other place over the world was ‘The Eyes of Texas’ sung with more feeling.”

New York City, 1951
“The only three persons lined up to furnish entertainment for the evening came down with the flu on March 2, so the group had to get along without a program.”

Japan, 1960
Cone Rice Jr. wrote from Yokosuka:  “Lt. Newt Youngblood, BBA ’54, and I are deployed aboard the USS Kearsarge. On March 2, Newt and I stood in the large room set aside for our shindig. Presently our friend showed up, and the waitresses in bright kimonos only outnumbered the celebrants two to one.”

Washington, D.C., 1977
Lady Bird Johnson spoke to a crowd of alumni in Washington, D.C.: “What did the University mean to me, a student from a very small town in deep East Texas? It seemed then—and it still seems now—that all the doors of the world suddenly swung open.”

Central Arkansas, 1980
“Exes were invited to ‘bring your own tequila.’ Plans to ‘Come as Your Favorite Nude Texan’ were cancelled by popular demand.”

Chicago, 1993
“More than 100 frosty UT friends gathered at the A-1 Beanery Restaurant in Chicago to prove that ‘Texas isn’t just a place—it’s a state of mind.'”

Austin, 2001
The Austin-area Texas Exes held its first Casino Night to celebrate Texas Independence Day. More than 500 attended, and all proceeds went toward the scholarship fund.

Alaska, 2013

The Texas Exes Alaska Chapter gathered in Anchorage at the Lone Star Steakhouse for a taste of Texas.

Washington, D.C., 2014

The New York Times wrote an article about the Lone Star loyalists who connect in Texas over barbeque and home. The story gives a special shoutout to the Texas Exes Washington, D.C. Chapter who celebrated Texas Independence Day at Hill Country Barbecue Market.

Dallas, 2016

The Texas Exes Dallas Chapter celebration was joined by Ahmad D. Brooks, BA ’98, BS ’05, retired NFL player and ESPN sports broadcaster who talked about Texas Football.


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