This year (2019) is my state’s Bicentennial, with events from the Gulf of Mexico to the Tennessee River, commemorating Alabama’s 200 years of statehood.
For those of you who aren’t from around here, you may be saying, “what’s to celebrate?” We’re aware of our reputation. Some of it is deserved. But the hallmark of most prejudice is when a broad brush is used to paint one shade and one dimension over people and things that are much more complex. That truth applies to the way many folks may see Alabama and its people.
We may have our quirky old aunts and crazy uncles, our corrupt politicians, our social struggles, and days of horror from our history, but we are more than that. Show me a place that’s squeaky clean.
Alabama is full of surprises. Its citizens have made great contributions to science, literature, music and other arts, medicine, agriculture, sports, civil rights and other social justice issues, as well as in many other fields. Most of the good people in our small towns, metropolitan areas, and rural communities love God, love their neighbor, do their job and mind their own business. There is great diversity among our people.
We are rich in natural resources and biodiversity. We have the Appalachian foothills in the north and white sandy beaches in the south. The forests, fields, fauna, flora, rivers, lakes, and streams are a sight to behold, year ’round.
Enjoy our recreational opportunities, our variety of tourist attractions, restaurants, and (yes) our museums and art galleries. See who we really are.
I have lived in a couple of other states, but mostly I’ve been here. My life has been strung out on I-65, from top to bottom, with a couple of detours along the way. I’ve been in almost every one of its 67 counties and have probably spent the night in at least half of them. My ancestors came to Alabama in the 1840’s, and most of my folks are still here. I love my state, can you tell?
It seems like the embarrassing things are what make the national news – or things made to look embarrassing. But real life isn’t just about politics or statistics.
It’s remembering the good that’s happened and reminding one another about it. It’s neighbor helping neighbor when disaster strikes. It’s finding communities where you fit in – where you belong, no matter what you look like or what you do for a living. It’s overcoming obstacles and moving forward. It’s making your own contribution from the gifts and talents God has given you to make your corner of the world a better place.
I’m proud that Alabama is my corner of the world.
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