Newbies and visitors don't get it until they've spent some time in Texas. It takes a while to acclimate to the can-do-attitude—that around every corner is an opportunity, and that everyone is a friend (until they're not). It's a place where people are proud of their heritages, be they of Asian, African, Hispanic, or European decent. Just put in a good day's work and love your family and you're golden. But there is something else. Texas has the singular distinction among US states that it was once a sovereign country. That's what feeds the sense of independence among residents.
March 2nd marks Independence Day for Texas, when she officially broke away from Mexico ruled by a despot. It also lit the fuse for some big moments in history, the first being the siege of the Alamo in Sant Antonio, Texas. There followed moments of heroism and horror, all culminating in the Battle of San Jacinto. It all combines to represent the epic struggles between freedom fighters and despotism—the fall of valiant forces hopelessly outnumbered.
There were close calls, like the Texas provisional government being on the run ahead of a massive army. Few non-Texans realize that on the night before the great battle at San Jacinto, Mexican forces nearly captured the president of Texas, who narrowly escaped by canoe along the Buffalo Bayou, reaching an old riverboat to chug him toward a fortified Galveston. Even fewer realize that Texas forces were bracing for a slaughter. But it was an odd turn of events on a prairie near Brays Bayou that revealed Santa Anna's strategy—and his error in thinking. That moment turned the tide for Texas, setting the stage for an epic victory on the 21st of April, 1836.