Governor Tomblin, Congressional Delegation Celebrate West Virginia's 150th Birthday

Bell RingingPhoto courtesy of the Governor's Office
Gov. Tomblin officially kicks-off the Sesquicentennial Ceremony with a bell ringing. 

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin joined thousands of West Virginians in celebration West Virginia's 150th birthday. At 1:50 p.m., June 20, 2013, on the steps of the State Capitol, Gov. Tomblin and members of the West Virginian National Guard rang a bell 35 times signifying West Virginia's status as our nation's 35th state. 

    "It's a great day to be a West Virginian. 150 years ago, the American experiment was in grave danger as the War Between the States raged on. Out of the darkest chapter of our nation's history, came a light- the great State of West Virginia was born," Gov. Tomblin said. "There is no place like West Virginia. We have a unique spirit, friendly people who are faithful to our American values, and we love our home. It deserves to be celebrated as our state turns 150 years old."
Members of the West Virginia Congressional Delegation were working in Washington D.C. and celebrated the state's birthday. 

    "Today we celebrate 150 years of everything that makes West Virginia so special. The necessary division and abiding unity that led to our founding. Tough times and shining moments. Beauty and ruggedness. Compassion and grit. Coarse hands and giving hearts. Each story tells of challenges that have bound us together and successes that we'll never forget," Sen. Jay Rockefeller said. "Today I'm joining with West Virginians everywhere-her native and adopted sons and daughters, near and far-in celebrating this moment. Happy birthday to West Virginia, my forever home." 

    "Born out of the turmoil of the Civil War 150 years ago, West Virginia was founded by brave patriots who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, risking their lives and fortunes, in a united pursuit of justice and freedom for all," Senator Joe Manchin said. "I've always said that the best steel comes from the hottest fire, and the fires of the Civil War transformed West Virginia into a strong, resilient state. It is an honor to be a part of history as all West Virginians join together to celebrate a century and a half of our great state's rich culture and strong traditions." 

    "At the ripe old age of a century and a half, a new dawn is breaking in West Virginia," said. Rep. Nick J. Rahall. "We have harnessed positive change while holding on to much that makes West Virginia unique, enabling us to attract new and promising ventures while retaining a rich heritage and great quality of life among the blessings of our natural surroundings. This may be our 150th year, but West Virginia is still Wild and even more Wonderful than ever before. Congratulations West Virginia." 

    "From its rich history to its beautiful mountains, I am proud to call West Virginia home," said Rep. Shelley Moore Capito. "One hundred and fifty years ago, West Virginia became the only state in the Union to acquire its sovereignty by proclamation of the President of the United States. Since then, West Virginia's country roads have provided the men and women who have traveled them with a sense of comfort and pride. As we celebrate and honor the strong heritage of the Mountain State, we also look forward to its even brighter future." 

stamp    "I'm a proud seventh generation West Virginian and I'm honored to serve the state which I love," said Rep. David McKinley. "Being a West Virginian comes with great honor, tradition and pride. In concert with the restored state of Virginia, President Lincoln, on April 20, 1863, proclaimed that West Virginia would be admitted to the United States as a separate state. Sixty days later On June 20, 1863, West Virginia became a member of the Union.....the only state created during the War Between the States. I join with West Virginians all over our great state in celebrating this historic birthday. Every year, millions of people travel the country roads of our great state and view the beautiful, scenic mountains to the Shenandoah River and everything in between. I hope everyone enjoys this time honored tradition of West Virginia Day and celebrates our wild and wonderful mountain home." 

    Celebratory events continue at the State Capitol through Sunday, June 23, 2013. For a complete list of events at the birthday celebration, and across the state, visit

Photo courtesy of the Governor's Office
Roger Spencer, the photographer whose photograph is featured on the West Virginia Statehood Stamp, shakes hands with Gov. Tomblin following the unveiling of the West Virginia Statehood Stamp.

* All photographs are courtesy of the West Virginia State Archives
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