Now I don’t have the elite status of being a “Native Texan”, which my wife frequently reminds me, but I got there as quickly as I could. One of the reasons I feel so strongly about my State; is the historic value its residents, both past and present, place their independence.
One of my favorite stories that reflect this value is the story of the Battle of Gonzales. Gonzales is most famous as the "Lexington of Texas" because it was the site of the first skirmish of the Texas Revolution.
In 1831, the Mexican government gave the settlers a small cannon for protection against Indian attacks. As the independence movement began to spread across Texas, the larger and more powerful Mexican army sent a message, demanding that the citizens of Gonzales surrender the cannon or face the consequences of certain destruction and death.
At the time the Mexican Army was one of the most powerful on earth. They had sophisticated strategies, advanced technology and tactics and they certainly had numbers on their side.
The entire world thought it was certain that the people of Texas had no chance in their fight for independence.
Many people believed defeat was inevitable and that the small independence fighters couldn’t survive against the big rich Mexican Army.
Some of you know the rest of the story.
On October 2nd 1835, the Texans under the command of John H. Moore responded to the Mexican soldiers.
The responded by flying a flag from the highest flag pole in the city. Their response was clear and concise:
They fashioned a flag with the words "Come and take it".
The Texans successfully resisted the federal troops in what became known as the Battle of Gonzales.
I see a close correlation between the Texans fight for Independence and ADs’ fight for Independents.
We too face sophisticated strategies, advanced technologies and tactics, and the national chains certainly have large numbers.
Like the people of Gonzales, the path of least resistance would be to surrender.
In our fight against National Chains, Independent Distribution will lose some battles, but I am confident in the ultimate outcome, because it is same spirit of independence that motivated the people of Gonzales that motivates us.
So when the National Chains target us and expect us to surrender, I say: “Come and Take it”.
Jack Templin is the President of Affiliated Distributors' Industrial Supply Division. This speech was delivered during AD's Industrial Supply Division Spring Network Meeting in Chicago, IL on March 14th, 2012.
Follow Jack on Twitter @jdt1120.