In 1923, Governor Pat Neff sent out a call. Texas needed a state anthem and the chosen song would earn a thousand dollar bounty for its author.
Bill Marsh and Gladys Wright were ahead of the game. Gladys, wife of a Fort Worth judge, and Bill, a native of Liverpool, England and professor of music at TCU, had been working on their 'Texas song' since 1918.
286 songs were submitted. Governor Neff's committee of representative men and women chose Bill and Gladys' submission in 1924, but the legislature didn't get around to officially adopting it until 1929.
John Philip Sousa called it the finest state song he had ever heard. Do you know it?
If you grew up in Texas, you probably learned to sing it in elementary school.
If you weren't born in Texas, (but got here as fast as you could) you could be forgiven if you thought our state song was Deep in the Heart of Texas, or The Yellow Rose of Texas (only if you don't know the lyrics), or The Eyes of Texas (OK, the Aggies won't forgive that one.)
The song Bill and Gladys gave us is Texas, Our Texas, and it goes like this:
Texas, Our Texas! All hail the mighty State!
Texas, Our Texas! So wonderful so great!
Boldest and grandest, withstanding ev'ry test
O Empire wide and glorious, you stand supremely blest.
Texas, O Texas! your freeborn single star,
Sends out its radiance to nations near and far,
Emblem of Freedom! It set our hearts aglow,
With thoughts of San Jacinto and glorious Alamo.
Texas, dear Texas! From tyrant grip now free,
Shines forth in splendor, your star of destiny!
Mother of heroes, we come your children true,
Proclaiming our allegiance, our faith, our love for you.
God bless you Texas! And keep you brave and strong,
That you may grow in power and worth, throughout the ages long.