The Pride of Nebraska This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     Many inspirational pieces have been written about patriotism, and since September 11, the topic of nationality has become even more widespread in the United States. But, isn't the U.S. made up of 50 individual states? Therefore, an important way to show pride in our nation is to show pride in our state.

Our Nebraskan heritage is something we citizens of Nebraska should be proud of. On March 1, 1867, Nebraska became the 37th state in the nation. The word Nebraska itself originates from an Oto Indian word for the Platte River, which means "flat water." Many Americans journeyed across the plains of Nebraska on the Oregon Trail in search of the rich lands of the West, and our Chimney Rock became an important landmark along this trail.

There are, of course, several other famous historic landmarks in Nebraska: Buffalo Bill's ranch, Fort Atkinson (first military post in Nebraska), Boys Town, Arbor Lodge (the mansion of J. Sterling Morton, founder of Arbor Day), and many others. Another fact to be proud of is that the 38th president, Gerald Rudolph Ford, was born in Nebraska.

Not only should we be pleased with our state's history, but also with what our state represents. Many buildings and rooms are symbolic to the people of Nebraska. One such place is the Nebraska State Capitol reception room. The tile floor and walnut walls are covered with exotic murals painted by the famous artist Augustus Vincent Tack. There is also a fireplace with a crest featuring a pioneer woman and the Nebraska's State Motto: "Equality before the law." This art implies that everyone, including women, are equal. No one is ignored.

One example of "Equality before the law" is the fact that Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature, which means that Nebraska is a nonpartisan state - there are no political parties. Therefore, the focus is on the good of the state, not the good of a particular party. All Nebraskans should be proud of this.

Another reason Nebraskans should be proud is that in peace or war, life or death, triumph or defeat, we will stand by each other, no questions asked. Here is one example:

A psychology instructor had just finished a lecture on mental health and was giving an oral test. Speaking specifically about manic depression, she asked, "How would you diagnose a patient who walks back and forth screaming at the top of his lungs one minute, then sits in a chair weeping uncontrollably the next?"

A young man in the rear of the room raised his hand and answered, "He's probably a Husker Fan."

If it wasn't for the 50 states, the U.S. could not have grown into the great nation it is today. Before this transformation could have taken place, the people had to have pride in their states. Therefore, statehood pride is a very important way to show national pride. c

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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