It's a day that has often been left in the shadow of the Alamo in the national historical consciousness, but April 21 is among the most important days on the calendar in the history of one of America's most illustrious states, Texas.

It only took about 15 minutes but a volunteer force of an estimated 700 "Texicans" under Gen. Sam Houston surprised the numerically superior Mexican Army that only days before had wiped out the 182 defenders of the Alamo. The battle of San Jacinto resulted in the destruction of Mexican dictator Gen. Santa Ana's army and confirmed the independence of the Republic of Texas. And the rest is history, as they say.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued this reminder about the significance of the events that took place 177 years ago today:

"Today we celebrate San Jacinto Day, the day 177 years ago that Texas won its freedom from Mexico. On April 21, 1836, Sam Houston led the Texian army into victory against General Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto.

"Most of the Texian army was comprised of volunteers - regular folk that believed in freedom and would not stand for Santa Anna's dictatorship.

"As the Texas soldiers rushed into battle, they shouted, "Remember the Alamo!"

"In a matter of minutes, the uncertain question of freedom was settled. Texas would become a Republic, and soon after a part of the greatest union ever formed.

"Texans are often described as independent. But people often forget that is rooted in winning our own independence. Today is the day we celebrate the decisive battle that brought us our independence.

"It's a proud day to be a Texan. Of course every day is that way. God Bless Texas."

Mark Tapscott, a proud native Oklahoman born of Texas-bred parents, is executive editor of The Washington Examiner.