West Virginia Day

June 21, 2007 at 5:43 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 20th 1863 is the birthday of West Virginia. Nick Rahall’s speech yesterday : HT Back porch politics

To honor West Virginia, I thought it would be fitting to post Nick Rahall’s Extension of Remarks in the Congressional Record:

Madam Speaker,

I rise on this special day to honor my home among the hills, the great State of West Virginia. It was on June 20, 1863, that West Virginia became the 35th state to enter the Union.

The distinctiveness of West Virginia can be traced to its unique founding, as the only state to have been formed as a direct result of the Civil War, through Presidential proclamation.

In a reaction to Virginia’s overrepresentation of eastern planters in the state legislature and complicated further by the swirling political issues of the day, on June 11, 1861, delegates from Virginia’s western counties met to nullify Virginia’s secession from the Union. Fifty counties (all of present-day West Virginia except for the land that now comprises Mineral, Grant, Lincoln, Mingo, and Summers Counties) constituted the newly formed state and served as the genesis of the vibrant and diverse place we know today as West Virginia.

The Constitution of West Virginia was approved in April of 1862, and in May of 1863, Arthur I. Boreman became our first governor. By June 20, 1863, West Virginia was officially a sovereign state. The sheer beauty of West Virginia now stands in stark and welcome contrast to the ugly conflict from which it was born.

Since its inception, West Virginia has been blessed with a striking landscape, placing it — we West Virginians believe — in a league all its own. The West Virginia State Motto — Montani Semper Liberi — “Mountaineers are always free,” sums up our powerful love of liberty and pays homage to our beautifully rugged lands that have honed our grit and determination, while attracting thousands of visitors each year.

West Virginia has historically been leader in steel, glass, aluminum, chemical manufacturing, and natural gas industries. Small family farmers continue traditions that have served them for generations, providing, among other goods, some of the world’s best apples. And our miners, who have long produced the coal that made our country strong, continue to dig to keep our national economy running.

But, as the old saying goes “nothing endures but change.” And we are seeing a change in West Virginia. In fact, West Virginia’s foray into new technology has provided new horizons for her residents, opening West Virginia for business while allowing us to remain wild and wonderful.

West Virginia my be 144 years old today, but it is just beginning to blossom. Our future is as bright as an early summer morning sunrise over the Appalachian hills.

Today, and every day, West Virginians thank the Lord for our bountiful blessings. We are kindred spirits, bound together in loyalty and love for our fine state. And everyday, wherever we may roam, we think of “happy home” and that place among the hills that truly is “Almost Heaven.”

It seems entirely appropriate to celebrate by everyone singing

West Virginia Hills
Words by Mrs. Ellen King,
Music by H. E. Engle

1. Oh, the West Virginia hills! How majestic and how grand,
With their summits bathed in glory, Like our Prince Immanuel’s Land!
Is it any wonder then, That my heart with rapture thrills,
As I stand once more with loved ones On those West Virginia hills?


Oh, the hills, beautiful hills, How I love those West Virginia hills!
If o’er sea o’er land I roam, Still I’ll think of happy home,
And my friends among the West Virginia hills.

2. Oh, the West Virginia hills! Where my childhood hours were passed,
Where I often wandered lonely, And the future tried to cast;
Many are our visions bright, Which the future ne’er fulfills;
But how sunny were my daydreams On those West Virginia hills!


3. Oh, the West Virginia hills! How unchang’d they seem to stand,
With their summits pointed skyward To the Great Almighty’s Land!
Many changes I can see, Which my heart with sadness fills;
But no changes can be noticed In those West Virginia hills.


4. Oh, the West Virginia hills! I must bid you now adieu.
In my home beyond the mountains I shall ever dream of you;
In the evening time of life, If my Father only wills,
I shall still behold the vision Of those West Virginia hills.


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