In all my travels, I have seen and talked to a lot of different people. And typically, the first thing out of everyone’s mouth is, “Where are you from?”

And without hesitation, I always proudly reply with” Texas,” plain, simple and to the point. But my last trip I went on, this couple giggled after I answered them. So, I asked what they found to be funny. And they said, “No, we love Texans, first of all, we love your accents, but secondly you guys are so proud of your entire state. No one ever says where in Texas, they always just say “Texas,” unless you ask them what part.” And I guess I never had really thought about it, but they are right.

They continued, “For example, we were just talking to another couple, and they were quite clear that they were from just outside Chicago, Illinois; not just Illinois, but Chicago.”

They, themselves, happened to be from the Midwest as well. And they thought it was neat how proud Texans were, just to be Texans. And like I said, I guess I have never really thought about it, or I have always taken it for granted, but the pride in being a Texan is the truth. Whether it was because we were once our own country, or whatever the case may be; but there is a certain amount of pride in being a Texan. It’s not a boastful pride or a conceited pride, but it is a gratification of being from this particular state.

A state built on cowboys, oil, blood, sweat and tears, football, school rivalries, open ranges, mountain ranges, miles upon miles of highways, coastlines, and a brotherhood like no other. We are a state that comes together in times of need, a state that has an accent that isn’t quite recognizable. You know it’s a southern accent, but it’s just harsh enough to not be dripping with syrup like Georgia or the Carolinas, but thick and gooey enough to set itself apart from the rest of the country.

Texas is an amazing place to live. It has been through battles, it has been its own country, it has had economic highs and lows that could destroy small countries, and it is large enough that some small countries can actually fit inside of if they were melted down and poured into our boarders.

But I think the thing that makes me the proudest right now, is the ability for Texas to come together in this time of devastation from the aftermath of “Harvey”; and ignore all the other hatred that is going on in America, and really show the world, and remind America what love, friendship, history, and solidarity is truly about. It’s not about what was in the past, it’s not about statues, it’s about the here and now, what we must offer to one another…and that is what our wonderful state must offer every single day—solidarity, history, and brotherhood.