Latest News, Opinion

Editorial: Look back at West Virginia’s heritage

The Journal of Martinsburg, W.Va.:

As we marked our state’s birthday this week, some West Virginians may wonder whether there is much to celebrate.

Our unemployment rate is 5 percent. We are the only state in the union with a workforce participation rate below 50 percent. The poverty rate here is 17.9 percent, compared to the national average of 13.5 percent. Per capita income of $23,450 is nearly $5,500 below the U.S. average.

We could go on and on concerning topics such as low education attainment, the imbalance between young and older people, infrastructure needs …

So as we look back at our history, some West Virginians may wonder whether the state has a future. Are we doomed to continue to see population declines and economic devastation in entire counties? Is there any hope?

Yes, there is.

Look around you, not just at your immediate surroundings but throughout the state. Look at the natural beauty of our almost heaven. Is there a more wonderful place in the nation? No.

Look, too, at your neighbors. By and large, they are hard-working, family-oriented, capable folks with strong values. Given half a chance, they prove themselves to be the kind of employees any company would love to have. Ask some of the big firms, such as Toyota Motors, how good West Virginia workers are.

There is something else about Mountain State residents: We are among the friendliest, most compassionate people you will find. When someone needs help, the best way to get it is to ask a West Virginian.

Are times tough? Indisputably. But look back at our heritage. We were born of the Civil War. We have gone through difficult periods before. Eras such as the Depression and the years when the mines were mechanized come to mind.

We got through all that. We’ll get through the challenges facing us now.

We simply have to buckle down and show the rest of the nation why West Virginians are considered some of the toughest people around.

Yes, we are in the midst of a struggle. But are not this place and this people worth the fight?

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter