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As a native West Virginian and graduate of West Virginia University, I take pride in the accomplishments of my home state. It's true that West Virginia has had it's fair share of challenges economically and educationally. I believe it's been difficult to overcome these challenges in part because two very liberal senators, Robert C. Byrd (D) and John D. Rockefeller (D), have been re-elected continually for decades. Rather than helping the good people of West Virginia to become more self-sufficient, industrious, and successful in the private sector, liberals encourage their constituents to depend on the State.
Despite our challenges, however, West Virginia has some real bright spots. Many famous people were born and raised in West Virginia. To name a few, there's General Stonewall Jackson (famous confederate General born in my home town of Clarksburg), Mary Lou Retton (US Olympic Gold Medallist in gymnastics), Jerry West (basketball legend), and Chuck Yeager (first pilot to break the sound barrier).
In 1999, a fantastic movie was released called October Sky. This film, based on the book Rocket Boys, tells the true story of Homer Hickam from the West Virginia mining town of Coalwood. Most boys his age were destined to end up in the coal mines. Homer's "destiny" changed in October 1957, when he witnessed Sputnik, the first Russian satellite, passing in the night sky. With the help of his home town and his teacher, Homer began to build and launch rockets with his friends. He went on to win the National Science Awards student competition and eventually became the trainer of our shuttle Astronauts.
I'm also really proud of the fact that my favorite college football team, the undefeated West Virginia University Mountaineers, are ranked #4 and are serious contenders for the national championship this season. The picture to the left shows West Virginia University's victory over the University of Georgia in the Nokia Sugar Bowl earlier this year. Having just moved to Georgia a few years ago, this game was a real treat. The Nokia Sugar Bowl, normally held in New Orleans, was moved due to hurricane damages to my backyard here in Atlanta.
More importantly than all of this, I was greatly encouraged to learn that Governor Joe Manchin III recently signed a proclamation establishing November 19-25, 2006 as Christian Heritage Week in the State of West Virginia. A pro-life Democrat, Joe Manchin has shown himself to be a hard-working man of integrity. He was thrust into the national spot light earlier this year during the two fatal mining accidents in West Virginia. Joe led the way in establishing national mine safety laws that will save lives in the future. My father reminded me that Joe Manchin was once in our living room selling carpet to our family. Joe typifies what one can achieve in a nation like the United States of America—from carpet salesman to Governor.
Bruce Barilla, a fellow West Virginian and a good friend of American Vision, sent us the following photo at right. Notice Governor Joe Manchin receiving one of American Vision's books, The United States: A Christian Nation, at a ceremony celebrating this proclamation!
Thanks to our friends at Christian Heritage Week for making accomplishments like this a reality in states all across America. Just imagine what we can accomplish if everyone put their Christian Faith into practice and applied the Bible to all areas of life!