West Virginia became a state on June 20, 1863. My graduate school transcript from Michigan State University still lists my home state as Virginia. I shake my head in amazement that 150 years later, many people do not know there is a state called WEST Virginia. What a wonderful childhood I had there–in spite of the chemical plants that kept the Kanawha Valley stinky. The Three Crosses that some of you have seen along the highway were first erected in West Virginia. See the story here: http://www.thecross-photo.com/Crosses_Across_America_Inc.htm
On this birthday of my home state, I remember well the words of our state song. They are very meaningful to me even though I’ve lived away from there for more than 50 years. Check them out:
West Virginia Hills
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.
Words by Mrs. Ellen King; Music by H. E. Engle