Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Birthday West Virginia

The Ultimate Gift, originally uploaded by chanchanchepon.

This photo was taken of a sunset behind my house in Morgantown, WV.
Not only was yesterday Father’s Day, but it also marked the 147th year that West Virginia has been a state. We are not western Virginia, and we have not been part of the Commonwealth of Virginia for over a century. We are the Mountain State, even though there’s not a single point in our state that exceeds the 5000 foot qualification to meet the topographical definition of a mountain.
Our state has produced amazing athletes like Jerry West, the man whose silhouette is the NBA’s logo. We have a rich history of a close relationship with the land, and have a history of conflict within these hills we call home as well.
West Virginia’s chief export isn’t coal, but people. Contrary to what most people outside our state might think, our capital has never been Richmond, although it has been Wheeling a few times. West Virginian’s are resilient, thoughtful, highly adaptive, and persevering people. We have been the site of major challenges, including some of the most greedy, deceptive, and downright evil exploitations of humanity outside the slave trade in this country.
West Virginians have always risen above though. Some of the most wonderful people I have ever known were born or raised in this state, or along its borders. As our motto states, Montani Semper Liberi or Mountaineers are always free!
Our state also possesses some of the most beautiful and wonderful parks and wilderness spaces in the country. If you have never visited, I suggest you take time to enjoy a much more simple and affordable vacation away from the hustle and bustle of the city. And if you are a resident, consider a weekend vacation within the confines of our state—it’s a great way to celebrate our state’s birthday! Visit places like Davis, Thomas, and Elkins and take in the beauty of our state. Take a ride on the Potomac Eagle Train, turn your phone off for a spell and enjoy reconnecting with a little bit of our natural world. Or slip on your hiking shoes and hike across North Fork Mountain Trail or visit the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area.
Looking for a little history, cross the Shenandoah river and enjoy a walk through historic Harper’s Ferry. If you are feeling really adventurous, take a thrill ride down one of many West Virginia whitewater streams.
I love this state, and I love the people of our state; filled with gratitude to have called this place my home.
How did you celebrate West Virginia’s Birthday?

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