Story last updated at 7/1/2009 - 11:55 am
The 4th of July around our house was second only to Christmas, with it being a very close second. In our small town of Winona Texas there were two parades a year - July 4 in the summer and homecoming in the fall.
I remember one year in particular - well, maybe not so much remember as recall the photos. It was 1976. So, for the record, I was very young. Our country was having its bicentennial celebration.
After several hours of work, as a six-year-old pig-tailed little girl, I took the grand prize ribbon for my bike decorating skills. I don't know at six that I comprehended the importance of the extra celebrations going on across America, but I knew the ribbons were bigger.
2009 marks another special 4th of July as we recognize Alaska's 50th anniversary of statehood. Alaska is still a young state. By comparison, Delaware was admitted to the union in 1787. Alaska has an incredibly rich history, but is still young and we have many roads and bridges yet to build.
Statehood represented a different future for Alaska, one of control and representation. Romer Derr, who participated in the original statehood celebration, was recently quoted in an interview with the Juneau Empire. One of the most important things about statehood, Derr said, is that it put Alaskans in charge of Alaska's resources.
The key to any state's sustainable growth is responsible development of its natural resources. Our lives in Alaska depend upon some of the same industries today as it did when it was a territory: fishing, mining and forestry.
Scientific research and responsible management has lend to many state regulations in all of the noted industries. Through these efforts Alaska has been able to develop its natural resources and maintain a healthy lush landscape for our grandchildren.
So what will the next 50 years hold for us? Alaska continues to prove what a wise man William H. Seward was. It's very exciting to look towards our future. We will continue to explore our traditional industries of oil and gas, tourism, fishing, education, mining and government. However, we can also be the leader in our next industry, renewable energy.Alaskans are looking to develop resources like wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, ocean and biomass energies. You can read about some of these renewable energies in the archives at capitalcityweekly.com.
In this issue, we present you with an Alaskan flag. Show your statehood pride by hanging it in your window, or bringing it to the parade to display. If you forget yours, that's okay. The Capital City Weekly crew will be in the parade passing out additional copies.
Show the world that Southeast Alaskans know how to celebrate. Upload your 4th of July photos to spotted.capitalcityweekly.com. If we print any of your photos, you'll win 2009 Mount Roberts Tram Tickets.
Happy 50th Alaska. We'll see you at the parade!
Laura L. Newsom is the general manager of the Capital City Weekly. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.