Last Friday, I spent the day at the Golden Horseshoe
Reunion in Charleston with over 500 Ladies and Knights of the Order of
the Golden Horseshoe, a tradition that has existed in the state since
More than 15,000 West Virginia students have received
the award in merit of their knowledge of the history of their state.
I witnessed the event by invitation of friend and Golden
Horseshoe winner, Terry Harris.
As one can imagine, I was thoroughly excited about this
adventure. It was not only my first official “West Virginia Reunion,”
but also my first trip to the capitol. I am always eager to embrace my
new state and home. This was an opportunity to do so with gusto.
I was pleased with the many trees and foliage around the
capitol building. It actually resembled a park not a hub of politics. I
felt that this is fitting for our “Wild and Wonderful” state.
We visited the statue that is based on Vachel Lindsay’s
poem, “Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight.” The sculpture stands nine and
one half feet high and depicts Lincoln in a robe and slippers. His eyes
are heavy to reflect his heart, torn by a nation under the strain of
civil war. The statue is perfect for the steps in front of the south
portico of the Capitol, as we were the only state formed due to that
The reunion ceremony took place in the Upper Rotunda.
There were several speakers, including Gov. Joe Manchin and authoress
The group stood to say the Pledge of Allegiance and to
sing the National Anthem. Each voice rang out and resonated against the
walls of our state’s core. It brought a chill.
Emotions were also stirred by the singing of “Home Among
the Hills.” It truly was a reunion of Mountaineers.
I felt like part of the elite group when even I knew the
answer to a question about the state motto. Over 500 voices said in
unison, “Mountaineers are always free.” Manchin spoke of the state and
its people with pride.
After the ceremony, we ate lunch and toured the capitol
building. We ended the day with a visit to the newly remodeled State
We were one of the first groups of people allowed to go
through the museum before its grand opening on Sunday. The museum is
located in the Cultural Center and is free for all to pass through.
Terry and I took two and one-half hours to absorb the
museum. We were impressed.
In fact, we had only two complaints. The first was that
there is only one small photo of Chuck Yeager in the museum, and it
isn’t even labeled.
The second was a Calhoun complaint. We found a basket by
Tom McColley, which was very exciting. A Calhoun artisan represented in
the State Museum--Yeah!
Then we looked at the card. It read Tom McColley - Chloe
- Clay County. We were disappointed and brought it to the immediate
attention of the tour guide.
He disagreed with our claim and stated firmly that Chloe
is not in Calhoun County. We were just as firm when we told him that he
I called Mr. McColley on Monday to tell him that he is
being misrepresented. He said that he would look to getting the matter
corrected as soon as possible.
I think by the end of the tour, the museum attendants
were excited to see us leave, but we didn’t mind.
We had a great time, and I am now an honorary part of
the West Virginia family, as I have attended an authentic Golden
Thanks, Terry, for taking me along. I end with the
lyrics of a West Virginia favorite:
Words and music
by E.W. James, Jr.
There’s a land of rolling
the sky is blue above;
And though I may roam, I
hurry home, to the friendly hills I
Where moonlit meadows
ring with the call of whippoorwills,
Always you will find me in my
home among the hills.
And where the sun draws
rainbows in the mist of
waterfalls and mountain rills,
My heart will be always in the
West Virginia Hills.
There, autumn hillsides are
with scarlet trees,
And in the spring, the robins
sing while apple blossoms
whisper in the breeze.
And there is music in the
streams and joy
in fields of daffodils,
Laughter through the happy
valleys of my home among the hills.