Nebraska 151

I’m not sure who in the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles decided to issue our standard automobile plates during the same year as our 150th anniversary of statehood. The usual practice of commemorative plates is to issue them a year ahead of time. Because of this snafu, people like me, who pay our fees in the autumn or winter didn’t “celebrate” our anniversary on time. Now the ol’ Camry must wear plates that look outdated.  License plates are a big deal in Nebraska.

This is a fairly young state. Today is Nebraska’s 151st birthday. Nebraska was the first state admitted to the Union following the Civil War. We’re number 37– after Nevada was admitted in 1864 and before Colorado, which was admitted in 1876. We have the dubious “honor” of having our statehood proclamation signed by President Andrew Johnson.

While re-reading that Presidential Proclamation (Johnson’s 164th) I noticed the reference to civil rights:

“Whereas the Congress of the United States did on the 8th and 9th days of February, 1867, in mode prescribed by the Constitution, pass a further act for the admission of the State of Nebraska into the Union, in which last-named act it was provided that it should not take effect except upon the fundamental condition that within the State of Nebraska there should be no denial of the elective franchise or of any other right to any person by reason of race or color, excepting Indians not taxed, (my highlighting and italics) and upon the further fundamental condition that the legislature of said State, by a solemn public act, should declare the assent of said State to the said fundamental condition and should transmit to the President of the United States an authenticated copy of said act of the legislature of said State….”

This condition is interesting because our State Motto is, “Equality Before The Law”. This motto has often been ignored by past governors and members of the Unicameral when drafting and signing laws. Anyhow, this is just another sticky point, albeit one that is more troubling than the license plates.

As is the case with other States, Nebraska has its share of ups and downs, and whether these are good or bad depends on each particular Nebraskan.

The first thing many Americans think of when Nebraska is mentioned, is that we are a “fly-over-State”. This is a bad thing if you’re promoting tourism and industry. It’s a good thing if you like privacy and plenty of room to live life.

Our geological beauty is both stark and subtle.

If you’re an environmentalist, you can thank one of Nebraska’s founding fathers”, J. Sterling Morton, for promoting the minor holiday known as Arbor Day. Yes, Mr. Morton also formed the salt company that features his name.

Did you know that “Kool-Aid” was invented in Nebraska? The experimentation and development took place in the small town of Hastings by Edwin Perkins in his mom’s kitchen.

Nebraska used to be called “The Beef State”. Now we’re “The Cornhusker State” much to the happiness of vegetarian Nebraskans. That said, there is still a rivalry between us and Texas as to which place produces more beef.

Then there is our weather. We’re one of the states where residents say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait an hour and it will change.” We’re glad there is such an agency as the National Weather Service. We can have a pleasant winter day interrupted by a deadly blizzard at the drop of a hat. The likelihood of this happening lasts half of the year. During the other half, there is the risk of a Nebraska town getting wiped off the map by a tornado. So, weather is the main topic of small talk in our state.

All things considered, Nebraska is a fairly good place to call home. The employment rate is better than the national average, and our crime rate is much lower than the national average. I’ll probably live in Nebraska awhile longer.

The Blue Jay of Happiness relates to this snippet from author Poe Ballantine: “Western Nebraska is the only place in all my travels where I have seen the dust blowing and the rain falling at the same time.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in cultural highlights, History, Hometown and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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