June 20, 2013

Manchin, Rockefeller Issue Senate Resolution in Honor of West Virginia Sesquicentennial

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amid events planned around the state honoring West Virginia’s 150th birthday, Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin today issued a United States Senate resolution in commemoration of the state’s sesquicentennial.

June 20 marks the day when West Virginia was admitted to the Union in 1863.

(Full text of the resolution follows. Download a PDF of the official resolution by clicking here.)

113th Congress
1st Session
In the Senate of the United States


A Resolution by Senators Rockefeller and Manchin

Whereas early settlement of present-day West Virginia began in the Eastern Panhandle, with development of western areas to follow;

Whereas slave abolitionist John Brown launched an ill-fated raid on a United States arsenal in Harpers Ferry in 1859 and was later convicted of treason, conspiracy and murder in nearby Charles Town, inflaming anti- and pro-slavery factions in the north and south;

Whereas citizens in the region opposed Virginia’s decision during the Civil War to secede from the United States;

Whereas West Virginia was admitted to the Union by the United States Congress on June 20, 1863, following a proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln, making it the only State created from the Civil War;
Whereas the bold decision of these first West Virginians resonates today with the words of the official State motto, “Montani Semper Liberi,” meaning “West Virginians Are Always Free”;

Whereas West Virginia is the only state located entirely within the Appalachian Mountains;

Whereas West Virginia’s industries are wedded to our land, supplying 15 percent of coal in the United States, forging steel, producing timber and fostering a present-day boom in natural gas production; and to our innovations, including burgeoning biometrics and automotive industries;

Whereas West Virginia’s workers are the salt of the earth and set hard work as a cornerstone of a life rich with pride, especially our miners who daily travel deep underground to mine the coal that keeps this Nation humming;
Whereas West Virginia’s sense of patriotism runs deep and true, as the State has the highest number of men and women per capita serving the United States in the military and a population of veterans wholly dedicated to making sure all who serve are supported;

Whereas the State’s communities exemplify the phrase "neighbor helping neighbor";
Whereas the Mountain State’s awe-inspiring landscapes grant residents and tourists the chance to climb mountains, fish streams, hunt in forests, raft rapids and traverse trails, making tourism one of the State's preeminent economic drivers;

Whereas West Virginia is home to the longest steel arch bridge in the world, the New River Gorge Bridge, which spans 1,815 feet over the New River Canyon; and the State's highest peak is Spruce Knob, sitting at 4,861 feet above sea level;
Whereas West Virginia has seen important inventions, including the first steamboat, the first iron furnace, the first electric railroad, the first glass plant and the first pottery plant;

Whereas West Virginia’s heritage can be felt in our handmade creations, from quilts and woodwork to dinnerware and paintings; heard in our mountain music, from hometown jamborees to fiddle-playing on front porches and songs from well-worn hymnals; and enjoyed in unique cuisine, from pepperoni rolls to wild ramps and buckwheat cakes with sausage;

Whereas many icons hold their roots in West Virginia, from General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson to Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck, educational leader Booker T. Washington, Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis and Brigadier General Charles "Chuck" Yeager;

Whereas during a rainy centennial celebration on the front steps of West Virginia's Capitol in Charleston on June 20, 1963, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed, "The sun does not always shine in West Virginia but the people always do." Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1)   observes the sesquicentennial of West Virginia; and
(2)   celebrates the remarkable heritage and contributions of West Virginia’s people.

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