Happy birthday, Indiana! It was on Dec. 11, 1816, that Indiana became the 19th state of the union, the "smallest state west of the Alleghenies" and "the most Southern of Midwestern states." Fourth-grader Megan Moran of Anderson won the "What Indiana Means to Me" essay contest, so she and her classmates will be in Indianapolis for the Statehood Day ceremony. She opens her essay with:
Do you smile when you hear the name “Indiana”? Well, I do. It means a lot to me. Indiana means home and good memories.
Other people, not so much, I suspect. I visit Texas frequently, and down there they are absolutely fanatic about their state. And people in some metropolitan areas are very city-centric -- just talk to a Chicagoan. But here, I think we just take our cities and state as a matter of course, except for some small-town pride here and there and a little combativeness at the borders (Hoosiers near Illinois and Michigan seem a little defensive at times, while those near Kentucky and Ohio seem to feel superior to their neighbors).
Megan's essay hints at the problem. She talks about the State Fair and campfires and "our beautiful outdoors" -- not much specific to Indiana has captured her imagination. But "home and good memories" make the state special to her.