Today is the 150th anniversary of the establishment of West Virginia. The Mountain State is one of Eduflack’s adopted home states (as this morning demonstrated, though, you can take the boy out of Jersey, but you’ll never take Jersey out of the boy). I graduated high school from West Virginia (Jefferson County High School in Shenandoah Junction) and I was able to proudly serve the state for several years as a staffer to the legendary Robert C. Byrd.
But my very first job on Capitol Hill was as a staffer for U.S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV. I interned for Senator Rockefeller 21 years ago in his DC office, and even had the privilege of helping staff him at the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York City. I still remember running around the City That Never Sleeps at 3 in the morning tracking down floor signs that read “Rocky IV” for the crowd to wave during Rockefeller’s speech at Madison Square Garden that summer.
The first thing I “professionally” wrote was a floor statement for Senator Rockefeller to give on June 19, 1992 to celebrate West Virginia’s 129th birthday during the 102nd Congress. The text, autographed by the Senator, still hangs on my office wall today. As so many of my fellow Mountaineers celebrate the anniversary (with some refusing, still baring the family scars of The Civil War), it seemed appropriate to offer up those words again, as given by Senator Rockefeller.
Mr. President, today I rise to speak to you in honor of the people of the great State of West Virginia in recognition of our State’s 129th birthday.On the 20th of June in 1863, the State of West Virginia was born. The product of a crisis between the States, West Virginia earned its place as the 35th State to join the Union, through incredible bravery and initiative.This spirit of initiative has remained with our fair State since its inception. The proud people of West Virginia have consistently served this country through the good times and the bad. We have fought valiantly for our country, we have provided for our families through hardship and prosperity, and we have worked to establish the greatest community, State, and country that we possibly could.Mountaineer pride is evident still today, throughout the State. This pride has attracted hundreds of thousands of vacationers to our fair State. They have fallen in love with our majestic mountains ideal for skiing, our racing white water rivers, and our beautiful national parks. One only needs to open any local West Virginia newspaper to see the numerous letters written from vacationers commending the State on both its attractions and its people.THis feeling has led many people to continue to visit the Mountain State and has brought many more to relocate permanently in our fair State for good. Thanks to the hospitality and kindness of West Virginia’s native residents, our Mountain State quickly becomes home for her new citizens, and remains a place where pride and hard work thrive.So, on this, the 129th birthday of our State, I ask you, Mr. President, and my other colleagues, to join me in recognizing this important day for West Virginia, and for all her citizens who have made West Virginia a State that I am proud to represent and call home.
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You are my inspiration, I have few web logs and sometimes run out from brand name. “To die for a faith is simpler than to live it absolutely.” by Jorge Luis Borges.
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