So today my state turns 150 years old. Nebraska was admitted to the Union on March 1, 1867, the 37th state to be so admitted.
There are a lot of cool and interesting facts about Nebraska. Blah-blah-blah-Nebraska.
Most of the Nebraskans I know are incredibly proud of the football team, Arbor Day, and the fact that we have a unicameral legislature.
Those are all great and wondermous things, but they all pale in comparison to the world's largest ball of twine. Which we do not have.
I remember celebrating the centennial of admission back in 1967. Remember it like it was yesterday. My Dad was the County Agent for Sheridan County at the time, so I was attending the
This is the place.
As I recall, we all attended a ceremony on the front lawn where brand new flags were raised, both the US Flag and the State Flag. There was also a flag retirement ceremony where the old flags were incinerated by some old codgers dressed up in soldier suits and armed with rifles.
Those fellows were almost certainly WWI Veterans. The WWII Vets couldn't make it, having jobs and all.
That flag retirement ceremony really made an impression on me. We learned -- or at least I learned -- that you treat the flag with respect because you respect what it stands for, not because it's the law. That under the law, you can desecrate the flag if you wish, and without penalty. Under the same law, you can also choose to honor and respect the flag as a symbol of something bigger than any individual. And that the thing you honor and respect lives in your heart, where it can never be desecrated by another. Only by you.
Pretty powerful message for a bunch of little kids. I'm surprised we survived such a harsh and judgmental emotional trial.
Thinking back to those days, I realize we were pretty cool kids. We had a little ditty at that school, sort of an unofficial school song. It went like this:
Emerson School is a clerk,
Mr. Colwell is a jerk.
Mrs. Feeny bit his weenie,
Now it doesn't work!
Those were the days.
Today there is a bright sun and a clear blue sky. The temperature is hovering at the freezing mark. There's also a stiff wind out of the NNW, one of those miserable "lazy" winds that can't be bothered to go around so it blows right on through your soul.
As I write this there is a local birthday celebration going on. The character of the celebration is such that I'm not there. All the kool kids are, but most (not all, but most) of those folks have demonstrated by their behavior -- to my entire satisfaction -- that they're really just people who happen to live here. There's no place for an American at a hoedown like that.
I'll celebrate 150 years of Nebraska in my own way. I can't help but wonder what those old codgers would make of the state, and of the Republic, today.
Well, as the Chief told me a long time ago, "It ebbs and it flows, shipmate. It ebbs and it flows."