The Times West Virginian

Opinion

June 20, 2013

So much to celebrate as state marks a milestone

West Virginia — a land so beautiful, roots so deep, bonds so strong that they write songs about it.

Oh, the hills, beautiful hills, How I love those West Virginia hills!

And not just one song. In fact, musicians have long sung the praises of the state of West Virginia, and three of them have been designated as the state’s official songs. And the songs don’t stop there. West Virginian musicians have been so in love with their home among the hills that they have had to express their devotion with a catchy melody.

Country roads, take me home to the place I belong.

And some of them catch on — we’ll even forgive a little issue with the geography in the lyrics because the overall message fits so well with our own love affair with the Mountain State.

Today, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the day West Virginia officially became a state — the first and only state to be created by a presidential proclamation. When Virginia seceded from the union, our forefathers remained loyal to the United States of America. We became the Restored State of Virginia, with Gov. Francis Pierpont leading us through until the official declaration of our own statehood.

Where my roots are so deep, Where my fore-fathers sleep,

Where kin-folks and friends are staunch and true.

We’ve been preparing for this day all year — our sesquicentennial celebration. That’s an awful big word, but the meaning behind it is so much bigger. We get mired in the thought of West Virginia being last as a state in all the good statistics and first in all the bad ones.

But we are a state of so many powerful firsts, starting with our creation on June 20, 1863. The first rural free mail delivery in the nation. The first black woman to become a member of a legislative body. The first statewide 4-H camp in the U.S. Today we celebrate those “firsts” that have happened over the course of 150 years and look forward to so many more.

What’s so great about West Virginia? It didn’t take us too long to learn what you love about the state when we posed that question to our readers for a special “birthday card” inserted in today’s Times West Virginian. We were flooded with responses.

Some said West Virginia University and the Mountaineers.

Others may be black or crimson

But for us it’s Gold and Blue.

Others lauded our beautiful landscape and the four distinct seasons we get to enjoy.

There, autumn hillsides are bright with scarlet trees

and in the spring, the robins sing.

Each answer was as unique as the person giving it. In fact, you could probably find 1.8 million different reasons why people love West Virginia.

Those who move away from our hills, for work obligations or other opportunities, miss them dearly. The fast-paced, big-city life has nothing on us. The grass isn’t greener there, if there’s any grass to be found. The people don’t greet you as you walk down the street. The store clerks don’t remember your name. The neighbors don’t even make eye contact. And most of those who roamed away return at some point to their home among the hills.

Where-e’re I go she will call to me

through the world in which I roam

This is my West Virginia, my land, my home.

So today, we celebrate our 150th anniversary of statehood. And we celebrate everything that is wild and wonderful about West Virginia.

They call it “Almost Heaven” for a reason. We heard that in a song once.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is

    Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
    This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.

    July 31, 2014

  • State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core

    It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
    So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
    Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.

    July 30, 2014

  • Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway

    U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.

    July 29, 2014

  • United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project

    The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
    That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.

    July 27, 2014

  • COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard

    I love to talk to readers.
    I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.

    July 27, 2014

  • Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial

    NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
    And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.

    July 25, 2014

  • Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives

    It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
    We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads