Yellowhammer state

OPINION

Several weeks ago, I shared a column titled "Arkansas: The Natural State" and gave some information about our wonderful state. If you live in another part of the country, I am sure your state is wonderful, too. In all of us together, we form the greatest nation in the history of the world: The United States of America.

After writing this column the thought occurred to me that since most people don't know much about their own state, must less the other 49, there might be some value, if there was sufficient interest, to cover them all. The plan was to feature one state each quarter, in alphabetical order, until the whole picture was complete. Well, I am honored and pleased to say that we did have sufficient interest, and this will be our plan going forward.

As we begin, today our state is the great state of Alabama. This state is known as "The Yellowhammer State." This nickname originated back during the Civil War when one day a company of Alabama troops paraded in uniforms trimmed in bits of bright yellow cloth. This reminded people of birds called "Yellowhammers" which have yellow patches under their wings. After that, Alabama soldiers were known as "Yellowhammers," which was later adopted as the official state motto.

This beautiful state occupies a central place in the history of the South, and today it also plays a vital role in our nation's future. Huntsville, called "Rocket City U.S.A.," is the site of the Redstone Arsenal and the Marshall Space Flight Center. Scientists at Huntsville developed many important rockets and space vehicles, including the Saturn V Rocket System that carried the first astronauts to land on the moon.

Alabama is an east, south-central state. It is bordered by Tennessee on the north, Georgia on the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico on the south and Mississippi on the west. This state has approximately 4 million people, and its 67 counties occupy 51,609 square miles, ranking it 29th in size among the states. Montgomery is the capital of the state, with Birmingham, sometimes called the "Pittsburg of the South" because of its steel mills, as another of its largest cities. Other important industrial and trade centers in Alabama are Mobile, Anniston, Gadsden, Tuscaloosa, Florence and Bessemer.

Alabama achieved statehood on Dec. 14, 1819, as the 22nd state. However, because of disagreements between the North and South over slavery and other issues, Alabama seceded from the Union on Jan. 11, 1861, and because one of the Confederate States of America. After the Civil War, Alabama was readmitted to the union on June 25, 1868. The name Alabama comes from two Choctaw Indian words, "Alba-Amo" and means "Thicket Clearers." The state flower is the Camellia, the state tree is the Southern Pine, the state motto is "We dare defend our rights."

There are many famous people from Alabama, including Jesse Owens, Helen Keller, George Wallace, and George Washington Carver. This state has a tremendous variety of things to see and do and the people are warm and friendly, as it's famous for real Southern Hospitality. P.S. If you are not careful, they will beat you in football.