My name is Jack Mandaville. This is not my autobiography. This is my personal declaration of my love for the State, the nation, of Texas. I was raised in Minnesota, a state that is consistently rated as one of the most livable states in America in numerous categories. In 2014, the town that I grew up in from 4 to 18 years old (where my parents still live to this day), Maple Grove, MN, was rated #2 as the Best Place To Live in America by Time. I then joined the Marine Corps and, aside from deployments, spent my time stationed at 41 Area (Las Flores), Camp Pendleton, CA, just a mile jog from the Pacific Ocean in the only undeveloped coastline in Southern California. But years earlier, at 25 years old, after I separated from the Marines and at the advice from a close friend, I moved to the city of Austin, TX, then lived in San Antonio and in the tumbleweed metropolis of Midland. From then until now (at 31 years old), my heart has belonged only to the Lone Star State. I love everything about it, mostly the people. They're what the Lacedaemons were to ancient Greece, a fiercely independent people inhabiting a larger culture. You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas. - Davy Crockett I once had a Texas friend tell me that the only way you can be a true Texan is do one of three things: Be born there, graduate from one of the major schools, or embrace the culture so much, as an outsider, that the natives will have no choice but to accept you into their culture. You can't just go there for a financial boom, in blue collar or white collar work, and stick it out. You have to show up and quickly love the place, its people and its history. That aforesaid quote by Davy Crockett has become an inspiration for people like me, the transplants (the people who have historically converged on Texas to make it great). I went to Texas not for the money, which is certainly an endearing aspect of the state, but for a life, in a cultural sense, that I wanted to have. That state fulfilled every expectation. Being a Texan, in the simplest sense of the word, is being unflinchingly proud of your land. It?s sticking things out in its worst times, which is the very rugged mentality that built the state. Fight. Struggle. Overcome. That's the Texas mentality in a nutshell. It's an attitude that has built giant metropolises like Dallas and Houston. It's an attitude that has built unique American cultural hubs like Austin and San Antonio. Cities like Midland, Odessa, San Angelo, and others in the west are built from the backs of migrants, loyal transplants like myself, and natives with the knowhow to take local industries to the next level. They're the people descended from the native Tejanos. They're the people descended from the pioneers, like Crockett, who did everything to make that piece of territory a country they could have as their own. They're the people who came from the runaway and freed slaves looking for salvation. They're the people who came trickling in from south of the border. They're in modern times, the other Americans looking for their slice of the pie, a new beginning in big cities and large pieces of desolate land. They've created numerous American Presidents, artists, actors, writers and musicians, business tycoons, patriots, military leaders, civil rights activists, and athletes the likes that most other American states can only dream of. They're my people. The people from my adoptive state. They're Texans. Work hard. Defend yourself. Defend your family. Make money. Live independently. Be yourself but be there for your neighbors. Texas will prevail simply because it's one of the last true vestiges of the American experience. Do your part and you'll get what you want. Oh, and by the way, you know how I said the town I grew up in is the second best place to live in America according to Time? Guess where the first was? A town called McKinney, TX. -Jack
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