State commemorates heritage

As West Virginia celebrates its 150th birthday today, state and city officials offered their thoughts regarding the momentous occasion for the Mountain State.

“This is a very important day for the state,” said Del. Bill Hartman, D-43rd District. “Our story is that of people standing up for what they thought was right and it’s important for people to remember that perseverance. It’s that and the hard-working nature of the people here that makes this state such a special place.”

“This is such an exciting event that’s taking place,” Del. Denise Campbell, D-43rd District, said. “We’re really looking back at how things were and that we’ve come a long way. But we are still conscious of the issues that are still important today, such as the importance of farmland and mining that is a long-standing tradition for the state.”

Both Hartman and Campbell were in Wheeling Wednesday taking part in anniversary celebration events at Independence Hall.

Local officials were excited to be able to celebrate this benchmark for the state.

“Birthdays and anniversaries are a good time to remember the past and reflect on the future,” said Elkins Mayor Van Broughton. “The people of West Virginia have been through a lot and accomplished a lot but I think our best years are still to come.

“The nation as a whole is facing some hard times but there are a lot of exciting possibilities opening up in West Virginia, and I know everyone in Elkins is looking forward to seeing and being a part of the future of the state.”

“Given our history and heritage, people call us the northern-most southern state,” Elkins City Councilman Gene Ochsendorf said. “I think the most important thing to remember as we celebrate is that we are still here and we are still strong.”

The celebration is going on statewide today, with events such as a special showing of the documentary “West Virginia: The Road to Statehood” to be aired on West Virginia Public Broadcasting at 8 p.m.

An entire itinerary of events are scheduled for today in Charleston, including a Sesquicentinnial Ceremony on the state Capital steps at 1:50 p.m., as well as an outdoor concert by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the West Virginia Children’s Chorus at 7:30 p.m.

Other events include “The Civil War: A Broadway Musical” performed by the Charleston Light Opera Guild at the Cultural Center Theatre at 4 p.m. and “150 in 3D: A Century and a Half of West Virginia Pride,” a 3-D video spectacular projected directly onto the State Capital followed by the World-Famous Zambelli Fireworks presentation at 10 p.m.

“Our state is home to some of the kindest, hardest working and most resilient people around,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement on the official website of the 150th anniversary of West Virginia’s statehood. “I am proud to announce a very special milestone in our state’s history.”