We West Virginians are a fiercely independent, freedom-loving people. Our state's motto, Montani Semper Liberi - Mountaineers Always Free - is less a proud boast than a warning to those who would take our liberties away.
Today, we celebrate the 150th birthday of the Mountain State. While the future holds many challenges for us, we have good reason to be optimistic - and proud of our past.
We at The Intelligencer are especially pleased at our newspaper's role in creating the state. Archibald Campbell, editor of what then was called the Daily Intelligencer, was a leading voice, both in print and in critical behind-the-scenes action, for statehood. In that, he represented the people of our region well. Our newspaper was the only one in what then was Virginia to support Abraham Lincoln for president in 1860. Campbell also was a vocal, courageous opponent of slavery.
Along with other thoughtful leaders, Campbell understood West Virginians are, if not unique in our outlooks on government, certainly not in what now might be called "the mainstream."
West Virginians believe in hard work and taking responsibility for our lives. We revere honesty. We insist on our independence and on being permitted to enjoy basic liberties. We ask for no handouts, yet are generous in our compassion for others. We expect our government, both at the state and national levels, to reflect those beliefs.
Life in the Mountain State often is not easy. West Virginians frequently are looked down upon by other Americans. Sometimes our very reverence for the ideals of freedom is ridiculed.
Our Mountain State creed has guided us through tough times in the past. It will serve us well in the future.
Today, then, we are proud to be West Virginians - and committed to our neighbors and our ideals.
Montani Semper Liberi. Happy birthday, fellow West Virginians!