Saturday, September 8, 2012

Texas Our Texas

Quick!  Tell me what your state flag looks like.  Don't know?  Then sing me your state anthem.  We have an anthem???  As a Missouri girl, I cannot tell you either of those things. I asked the boys if they knew that about Oregon - they did not.  But here in Texas EVERY child can answer both of those questions for you. Proudly.  

The first time I heard the Texas state anthem I was visiting Son 2's school in the morning.  During assembly they did the Pledge of Allegiance (to the United States flag)  - then they launched into the Texas Pledge of Allegiance....and then they sang a song.  I've looked online for a version where it is being sung, but can only find you can play Texas Our Texas karaoke at home.  (You're welcome.)

I'm pretty sure that I know nothing about Missouri history aside from Lewis and Clark. Ironically, the boys learned about Lewis and Clark as well while we were in Oregon - we had moved to the other end of their route. I can only speculate what they learned in England...probably something along the lines of "We used to run the world, now not so much; however, we do have a Commonwealth and no one else we've got that going for us."   Anyway, I digress. My point is that in Texas, kids learn Texas history...Son 1 spent all of sixth grade learning it; Son 2 did it in fourth grade (so far). I've tried to find the actual curriculum standards for Texas elementary schools, but true to Texas, the sites are huge and full of more information than I care to sift through.  Bottom line is that children here know more about Texas by middle school than I knew about the United States until high school, and it's one class you never hear them complain about.  I think the passion for the subject here is contagious - and how cool is it to be able to drive to a place like the Alamo and actually SEE what you are learning about?  It perpetuates the overall love of the state, generation after generation. I get it. 

Since Texas was once a country, it has some incredibly rich history. I'm not going to detail it here...similar to Texas economics, that would be more substance than I'm capable of producing (and that you are interested in reading.) But a there are good places here to learn about some of it.  If you want to know about bloody battles and war, you just need to take a drive...go south and west for sites where Texas won its independence from Mexico; go south and east for American Civil War battle sites. My choice? The Mexico ones...amazing stories, and there's much more than just the Alamo. 

To learn more about the government of Texas, one must visit the Texas Capitol. On any given school day there are at least five groups of children there on a field trip - they'll come from all over the state to see this.  The building is's actually taller than the United States Capitol.  It sits on one of the highest points in Austin, so you have to look up at it from most other spots.  The architecture is impressive, and everything down to the interior details just screams Texas.  Here's what the door hinges look like: 
Yes, I said hinges.  I was passing through an open door and noticed this - and then realized it was on all the doors.  I'm not positive all 400-ish rooms have these hinges on their doors, but every one I saw did. 

So is this turning into a Gosh I Sure Love Texas post yet?  It's getting close, so let me bring it back to reality - or Renee reality, at least.  The Capitol building's floors are ornate...the Rotunda is the centerpiece of the's the view from above:

If you Google Texas Capitol Rotunda you can also see images with people standing there, which will give you perspective on just how incredibly big it is - this is Texas, remember? But what you won't see when you Google anything about the floors in the Texas Capitol are the designs on the floors in the hallways.  If you ask anyone about it, they won't have much to say...there's no historical significance, no impressive architecture. But I find them to be so over-the-top hilarious that I was compelled to take pictures.  Want to see what I'm talking about?  

I know, right??? That really is the detail on the floors of the Capitol, and it was just me and some adolescent boys cracking up over it.  We also belched, said "dude" and high-fived each other.  (Okay, there were no boys around, but that was my level of humor at the moment I took the picture. I guess it still is because I am laughing as I type this.) 

If there is a Texas Degradation Coalition, I will most certainly be getting a citation from them any day now.  

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