The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

73° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Happy birthday, Arizona!”

    It’s Valentine’s Day and the world is decked out in pink and red. Feeling left out? Sad because you don’t have chocolates from a sweetheart to eat? It’s OK; you can break out the birthday cake instead. Why? Because it’s Arizona’s birthday.

    Sad because you don’t have chocolates from a sweetheart to eat? It’s OK… Why? Because it’s Arizona’s birthday.

    Our state turns 92 today. It was on Valentine’s Day in 1912 that President William Taft granted statehood to what was then a U.S. territory. Since being granted statehood, Arizona’s has had its ups and downs – and what better time to take stock of the state we call home than its birthday?

    Arizona’s had some shameful times in its past. Its earliest years were scarred by the reprehensible treatment of the tribes that had called this area home long before it was settled by those who lobbied for its statehood. Its adolescence was marked by the disgraceful internment of Asian-Americans in camps during World War II.

    In the recent past, we’ve had some national embarrassment, as Arizona was named the worst state for education in the country, with the largest class sizes and the lowest per-student spending of all 50 states in elementary and high school education.

    We’ve seen our border policy criticized as being ineffective in keeping illegal immigrants out, or unfairly treating those who’ve crossed in. We’ve passed English-only initiatives that have resulted in accusations of xenophobia from pundits around the country. In short, our state has walked a bumpy road.

    But what’s a birthday if we don’t take a moment to remember the good times too? Arizona has produced some pretty spectacular residents. It’s the home state of newly retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; its geographic features served as muse for architecture luminary Frank Lloyd Wright. Reformers like CǸsar Chǭvez and the Udall brothers grew up here.

    And Arizona’s kicking right now too. Our governor, Janet Napolitano, was recently selected by Time magazine as one of the country’s top five. Our leaders at the state level have managed to eliminate a budget deficit that had swelled to a billion dollars by 2003.

    And we can’t forget to mention the fact that it’s your home now. Whether or not you’re a permanent resident, you’ve found Arizona’s charms alluring enough to keep you here for a bit. You’re not just a Wildcat. You’re an Arizonan.

    Is our state perfect? Absolutely not. But it’s still growing up. So, here’s to you, Arizona. Let’s see what the future brings. Happy Birthday!

    Opinions Board

    Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Nina Conrad, Lori Foley, Caitlin Hall, Michael Huston, Ryan Johnson, Aaron Mackey and Tim Runestad.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search