Youngsters, residents and elected officials gathered Wednesday at the Upshur County Courthouse to collectively wish West Virginia a happy 149th birthday.
Upshur County Commission President Donnie Tenney encouraged those in attendance to take a day to remember and celebrate West Virginia and all the freedoms enjoyed by Americans.
"I'm proud to be a West Virginian," Tenney said.
The Inter-Mountain photo by John Clise
Visitors to the Upshur County Courthouse on Wednesday enjoyed a slice of birthday cake as part of the 149th celebration of West Virginia Day.
Tenney explained that Montani Semper Liberi, which is Latin for Mountaineers are Always Free came into being as a result of the state being inducted into statehood as a free state during the Civil War.
"We must be vigilant to keep our freedoms," Tenney said. "There are always forces at work trying to steal them away."
State Del. Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, was also in attendance and offered a number of thoughts on West Virginia and its contributions to America over the years.
"I would like to emphasize West Virginia, per capita, ranks No. 1 in veterans served," Hamilton said. "I think we should honor them."
Hamilton also pointed out West Virginia is shining example for folks in Washington to learn from when it comes to working together to get things done.
On a lighter note, Hamilton pointed out the first day of summer, which usually falls on June 21, coincided with June 20. This will not happen again until 2092.
Patty Adams of the Upshur County Republican Executive Committee pointed out West Virginia is the only state to be formed by a presidential proclamation. An application for admission to the Union was made to Congress, and on December 31, 1862, an enabling act was approved by President Abraham Lincoln admitting West Virginia, on the condition that a provision for the gradual abolition of slavery be inserted in its constitution.
West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions and broke away from Virginia during the Civil War.
The new state was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, and was a key Civil War border state.
West Virginia was the only state to form by seceding from a Confederate state, and was one of two states formed during the American Civil War - the other state being Nevada, which separated from the Utah Territory.
Contact John Clise by email at email@example.com.