This Monday, Aug. 1, marks Colorado’s 140th anniversary of statehood. It’s a day to celebrate this magnificent and quirky state and its relationship to the nation which it joined in 1876.
In no particular order, here are some of the many things we love about Colorado at 140:
Colorado’s natural beauty. The topography of Colorado’s 104,094 square miles runs the gamut from majestic soaring mountains and surrealistic sand dunes to golden plains and bountiful orchards.
Indeed, Coloradans are blessed to have the monumental Rocky Mountains run right through the heart of our state. The views of the mountains and from the mountains are awe-inspiring and naturally relaxing. Add to that the many forms of mountain recreation — skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking and sightseeing — along with the economic impact they have on the state. The mountains are a blessing in countless ways.
After all, Katherine Lee Bates’ famous “America the Beautiful” lyrics, “Purple mountains majesty above the fruited plains,” came to her as she sat atop Pikes Peak. “America the Beautiful” was inspired by Colorado the beautiful.
Colorado’s people. Unless you have moved to Colorado from another part of the country or have traveled extensively outside the state, you may not realize just how friendly Coloradans are. You may take it for granted that when strangers pass each other on the sidewalk they often say “hello” or “good morning.” That doesn’t happen everywhere, but it does happen in Colorado. People here make it a point to hold the door for those coming behind them; in other places the door will slam shut before the follower reaches it.
In times of disaster, such as wildfires, Coloradans are there to help each other, in a carry-over of the pioneer spirit that was so instrumental in the formation of this great state.
Colorado’s independent streak. Colorado is neither a red nor a blue state. It’s solidly purple. It’s a state that neither political party can count on, so it often becomes a swing state, attracting national candidates nearly every other week during election cycles. While it makes for interesting news coverage, it really means that Coloradans vote their consciences without lockstep loyalty to any particular ideology.
Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, but still clings to regulations reflecting traditional mores such as blue laws. You can light up a joint here any day of the week, but you still can’t buy a car on Sunday.
Colorado’s Jewish community. Our state’s Jewry — which has grown greatly in the past three decades — reflects the friendliness and independence of the general Colorado population. Native Jewish Coloradans are proud of their pioneer roots and remain nostalgic about the community’s early days, while newcomers have imported the best elements of their native communities so they can enjoy fulfilled Jewish lives in what is arguably the most beautiful state in the nation.
Copyright © 2016 by the Intermountain Jewish News