In light of San Jacinto Day rapidly approaching (April 21), I set out to investigate the origins of Texans’ pride. When it comes to state pride, there’s really no questioning that Texans are unparalleled in their love for their state. I feel as though I’ve seen it all – from oversized Texas tattoos to a full set of longhorns on the front of a truck driving down the interstate. When they say “everything’s bigger in Texas,” Texas pride is included.
Where does this pride come from? I did a little digging, and here are my top five reasons that justify Texas pride:
1. History. This has to encompass the most substantial aspect of Texans’ pride. Though most are familiar with the phrase “remember the Alamo,” many are unaware of what the battle fought there really consisted of. Though it ended in a defeat for the Texans, the mere fact that the Texans persisted and that the battle raged on for nearly two weeks without surrender, fighting with only 100 troops combating Mexico’s 1,500 is a feat worthy of recognition. Colonel William Barret Travis’ words amidst the battle illustrate the men’s courage: “To the People of Texas and all Americans in the world,” “I shall never surrender or retreat,” and “Victory or Death.”
If there is one thing that could ignite a surge of bravery to suit-up for battle throughout the rest of Texas, it was seeing the unwavering valiance of the men who fought at the Alamo. Thus, The Battle of San Jacinto took place less than a month after The Battle of The Alamo in what is now the bay area of Houston, with much different results. In a battle lasting only 18 minutes, hundreds of Mexican soldiers were killed, injured, or captured, compared to a mere 35 Texans. General Santa Anna was captured, and negotiations were made for Texas to become independent from Mexico. What other state can boast of such gallant history?
2. All the landscapes you need in one place. When it comes to diversity of land, Texas seems to be a country unto itself yet again. This is in part due to the fact that, quite frankly, Texas is huge. Okay, our disjointed neighbors of the north (Alaska) may be the one state that has bragging rights on size bigger than Texas, but how often do you hear of people flocking to the tundra? Not when they find out that Texas has it all – from deserts and plains, farmlands and forests, to the rich urban culture of city life, there’s not much you can want landscape-wise that you can’t find in Texas... unless, of course, it’s tundra.
3. Southern hospitality and chivalry. There’s just something about the “yes sirs” and “yes ma’ams” down here that I just can’t get enough of. I’ve visited a great number of states, but few can hold a torch to Texas when it comes to the sweetness of the south. It’s no wonder that Frisco, TX made Forbes’ list of America’s Friendliest Towns, or that San Antonio was listed as #1 on NBC Today’s list of Friendliest Cities in America. It’s more than just a happenstance disposition; it’s a way of life that has been engrained in Texans for years. And with universities like Texas A&M bringing up men of honor in the corps, it’s not hard to see why southern gentlemen are still alive and well in Texas.
4. Texas continues to produce greatness. Starting from the top, three out of the last nine U.S. Presidents have been from Texas. Texas can also boast of having its very own cuisine: Tex-Mex, a sensation your tastebuds can never seem to get enough of. Speaking of tastebuds, Blue Bell ice cream, boasting with dozens of mouthwatering flavors, also originated in Texas. Texas has also produced a number of the world’s top musical talent including Willie Nelson, Beyonce Knowles, George Strait, Buddy Holly, Jessica Simpson, Miranda Lambert, Pat Green, and numerous others. But are any of these really as substantial as being able to boast of Chuck Norris, Texas Ranger? From the political scene to the music scene and more, Texas has been generating impressive talent since its inception.
5. The economy. In terms of gross domestic product, if Texas were its own country, it would rank 14th in the world – just below Australia and above Mexico, with a total GDP of $1.3 trillion (according to 2011 stats). I’d say that’s something to boast about. Along with that, Texas has maintained a significantly lower unemployment rate than the national average, escaped the foreclosure bust that crippled other states, and tapped into even greater oil money than before through a process called “fracking”. If ever there came a day when Texans felt the need to secede, combine the state’s self-sufficient economy with their love for guns and all I can say is, “don’t mess with Texas.”