Pick any kid off the street in Japan and draw him a picture of Texas in the dirt. Ask him what that is and he will know. There is just something about the picture of Texas with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast and the Red River and the Rio Grande that brings instant recognition in every foreigner no matter where he is. If you’re from Texas and travel to another country people ask questions like, “Do you have a horse?”

“Do you have a bunch of guns?”

“Do you have a pickup?”

“How about an oil well?”

When tourists come to Texas they want to ride in a pickup truck. They act like they never saw one before and sometimes they keep rolling the windows up and down and inspecting the CD player and the big cup holders.

Texas is the Alamo and 183 men standing in a church, facing thousands of Mexican nationals, fighting for freedom. They had the chance to walk out and save themselves but they stayed put. We send our kids to schools named William B. Travis and Bowie and do you know why? It’s because those men saw a line in the sand and they decided to never back down. John Wayne paid to do that movie himself.

Texas is music that is played and enjoyed the world over. Bob Wills and San Antonio Rose; Buddy Holly and “Baby Baby;” George Strait and “Amarillo by Morning.” Willie Nelson and just about anything.

The Yellow Rose of Texas is more than a popular Texas song. She was a real life mulatto hero. She did her best to keep Santa Anna in his tent while Houston led the charge at the Battle of San Jacinto.

Texas joined other Southern states in 1861 to form the Confederate States of America. After four years of fighting to be free, the rest of the states gave up but Texans remembered what Travis said about surrendering and they kept right on. Texans won the last battle of the war only to learn that the rest of the bunch had given up and signed a treaty six weeks earlier! So after that, families from other Southern states loaded up their wagons and headed out for Texas swelling our population and helping us prosper and start all kinds of new businesses.

Texas is Juneteenth celebrations and Texas Independence Day and a mile long parade through town on the Fourth of July.

Texas is towering pine trees and yards of moss hanging from Live Oaks and fields turned blue from flowers in the spring. Texas is breathtaking mountains in Big Bend. Texas is shiny skyscrapers in Houston and Dallas. Texas is grassy meadows where Longhorns graze. Texas is sleek horses racing across open fields. Texas is sunburned men and women in big hats and tight jeans making deposits at the local bank.

Texas is Mexican food like nowhere in the world, even in Mexico. Texas is crammed with legends like sports figures Nolan Ryan, and Ty Murray and actors like Mathew Machanauhay and Nick Pernokas.

Texas is universities like The University of Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, Southern Methodist and A&M. During WW11 more officers graduated from A&M than from West Point and the Naval Academy combined!

Texas is a place where towns shut down for high school football games and streets are deserted on Sunday morning during church service. Texas is a place where the head of every household knows how to barbecue on a backyard grill.

Texas is beaches, deserts, lakes, rivers, mountains, and prairies. Texas is herds of cattle and miles of crops. Texas is skies full of doves, woods full of deer and lakes full of fish.

You fly the Stars and Stripes at 20 feet in Maryland or California or some other state and you fly your state’s flag at 17 feet. You fly the Stars and Stripes in Texas

in front of the schoolhouse at 20 feet, the Lone Star flag flies at 20 feet. Know why? Well, I’ll tell you why. It was part of the deal we made when we joined the United States. Another part of that deal was that we could, by a vote of the people, divide Texas into 5 states! But heck, no Texan would ever want to divide the state because we place being a Texan pretty high.

Speaking of “high” the San Jacinto Monument is 5 feet taller than the Washington Monument. The capitol building in Austin is 310 feet, 22 feet taller than the United States capitol in Washington.

Texans know that everything in Texas is bigger and better. Maybe in part that’s because Texas was an independent nation, the Republic of Texas, when it joined the union of states. For whatever reason, Texans are a proud bunch whether “home-grown” or “transplanted” and we stand United with the other 49 in any fight against those who would terrorize us. Now is always a good time to show the world that Texans never back up.