Born 155 years ago on the eve of the Civil War, it always seemed that our early years set the stage for a history of struggle, shared convictions and a willingness to pull up our sleeves and do what needs to be done. Always a bit stubborn, and a tad puritanical, Kansans also show a quiet determination to accomplish the task at hand; especially when someone tells us it just doesn’t work that way.
Thank goodness Amelia Earhart didn’t listen to those who said women should not be pilots, her adventures and a willingness to take risks still inspire today. Fortunately, Dan and Frank Carney ignored critics that said pizza would never catch on and that no one would ever want to eat a pizza in something called a “Hut.” Their creation is still the largest chain of pizza restaurants in the world. Clyde Cessna’s first aircraft failed 13 times before finally bouncing into the air, only to crash into the trees when he tried to turn. Since the 1930’s, there has never been a time when a Cessna aircraft was not in the air somewhere on the planet.
But for global impact, no one compares the kid from Abilene. Dwight D. Eisenhower led the Allies at Normandy and on to the ultimate defeat of the Nazis. As President, he led us through a Cold War that threatened the very existence of humanity. And Ike truly unified our nation with a highway system that serves us to this day, making a great nation even greater. Those are the kind of Kansas attitudes attributes that this nation and world could use a little more of.
So when Kansas makes the national news, and the pundits and the critics on the coasts scratch their heads and ask the question, “What’s the matter with Kansas?,” just tell them it’s nothing we can’t handle. “Ad Astra per Aspera” is our motto. Happy Birthday Kansas and many more to come.