Texans have a great deal to be proud of.

We have been blessed with a great heritage of bountiful prairies, forests, estuaries, oceans, streams, rivers, mountains, wildlife, and other great gifts of nature.

Our great State was founded upon the noble principles of justice, democracy, freedom, and tolerance.

Texas has been graced with public buildings of great beauty, including the Alamo, The State Capitol Building, Peabody Libraries, magnificent County Courthouses, architecturally significant halls of learning, and noble Courts of Justice.

We have spawned great local and national leaders in politics, medicine, law, architecture, business, public service, and many other professions.

The hero of San Jacinto, Sam Houston, set an example for the Republic of Texas as well as for the rest of the nation. He was one of the few leaders of his day who respected peoples of all ethnic backgrounds. He was also one of the few pioneer developers who loved and respected the native forests of Texas and who never cut the trees on his Huntsville Homestead.

Tragically, many of the very blessings which Texans traditionally have been most proud of are either threatened or have already been destroyed by greed and ignorance.

Nearly every last acre of our prairies have been plowed under or converted to monocultures. Nearly every last acre of our once great and bountiful virgin forests have either been clear-cut and converted to toilet paper plantations or converted to pastures or urban sprawl. Our estuaries, streams, and rivers are polluted with toxic waste. Our air is so filthy that the great vistas from our mountains have been compromised.

Our justice system is failing our citizens, our freedoms are being compromised, and many citizens no longer vote because there is so little difference between the political candidates who seem to be more interested in their personal welfare than the welfare of the people. Texas is now condemned around the world as the “Death Capital” of the so-called ‘Free World’.

Many of our most beautiful buildings have been bulldozed to make way for hideous metallic structures. Wonderful school buildings have been torched or demolished to make way for windowless prison-life warehouses in which our children are incarcerated.

No one seems to care about beauty of quality anymore—just instant slums.

Unless Texans begin to take genuine pride in our heritage and our future, in just a few short years, at the current rate of degradation of both our culture and our environment, there will be nothing but memories of a better past to be proud of.

This patriotic message is brought to my fellow Texans by George H. Russell

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