Ohio has certainly emerged into the national spotlight in recent weeks, and that will only continue as the year moves forward. But last week, Ohio gained attention in a different way as it celebrated a birthday.
March 1st of this year marked the 213th anniversary of Ohio’s statehood. Ohio became the 17th state in the union in 1803, and it has certainly come a long way since then. But what makes our state so special is not its longevity, but rather its people.
So often, the famous and influential Ohioans that we all learn about represent the kind of work ethic that I think defines our entire state. For example, last year a statue of Ohio-born inventor Thomas Edison was on display in the Statehouse, a tribute that will soon represent our state in the nation’s capital. Edison is most remembered for his more than 1,000 patents and inventions, namely the lightbulb. But his rising up from humble beginnings and his unmatched work ethic should also be an inspiration for young Ohioans still today.
In southwest Ohio, we celebrate the Wright Brothers and their revolutionary contributions to aviation, which undoubtedly changed the entire world. The impact the Wright Brothers had on our ability to travel and our freedom to engage in commerce is something all Ohioans should be proud of.
Ohio has also been blessed to have so many courageous men and women serve and defend our country, which dates back to our beginnings. There is a painting hanging in the Statehouse of Ohio native Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry that highlights the role our state played in securing victory in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
More recently, the Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation that pays tribute to the military men and women who have lost their lives while fighting to preserve our American freedoms and principles. These are the kind of people who make our way of life possible, and who make it possible for Ohio and the United States the special places that they are.
From being the birthplace of eight presidents, to the first man to walk on the moon and everything in between— Ohio has certainly made the most of its 213 years of statehood.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.