Christina Henney, 11th Grade, Shadow Ridge High School, Las Vegas

All for Our Country

The Nevada state motto “All for Our Country” in a nutshell means we support the country no matter what. The motto goes way back to February 24, 1866 just after the Civil War in which Nevada legislature met to change it from the original motto “Willing and Able.” The motto comes just after the Civil War finished showing Nevada’s desire to support a strong Federal Union. Basically sending the political message “The Union must and shall be preserved.” A very important point at the time. Nevada’s state archivist Guy Rocha stated that the motto essentially states that Nevada, first and foremost, would give all its allegiance to the United States. The thinking comes from the time of the Civil War when President Lincoln needed more states on the Northern side. To guarantee a strong union.

President Lincoln also worried that in the election of 1864 he might not win re-election against General George McClellan, who also was a Northern hero of the people. So by bringing Nevada in as a state supporting a strong Federal government his chances for winning would become better. So Nevada became the 36th state and on the side of the North.

Nevada has always shown an independent spirit in some ways but, always supports the Federal government in a time of crisis. Nevada is always ready to step up in an hour of need. It has been proven time and time again. Providing soldiers from National Guard units in time of national disaster. Hurricane Katrina is just one example where Nevada first responders helped out. Also, many Nevadans have volunteered for the Peace Corps helping people in need not just here in the United States but, around the world. So the motto “All for Our Country” can also mean our whole country helping the world become a better place. By being a living example by deeds and democratic principles. As for how Nevada can apply our motto “All for Our Country” to better our nation today, there are many ways in which we can do this. The first way we can do this is by participating in local and state elections, actively involved in the democratic process that so many Nevadan’s sacrificed to protect. It doesn’t matter which political party you support or what your beliefs are. The main thing is to participate in our democratic process. Just get out and vote.

Another good way to better our state today is to be a volunteer ones time in making our country better is a long standing tradition. From supporting the Red Cross, Girl Scouts, or working in a food bank. All of us working together to improve everyone’s life, especially lending a helping hand in a time of crisis or to a person going through a tough time. No matter what your skills are, you can always find an area that you can volunteer and help others. It can be as simple as cleaning up a park or nature preserve to helping kids with tutoring so they don’t fall behind and quit school. It is very important to give back to our state which can be a good example for the entire country to watch and learn from.

Nevada is a melting pot of all types of national and ethnic backgrounds which has meshed together to provide a shining example for our country to follow. Because of our unique situation with tourism and mining workers come from not just all over the country but, all over the world to establish their families. Sharing their rich cultural traditions with all of us, we learn to be more tolerant of our neighbors and co-workers. This may be one of our strongest values we offer here in Nevada that we can pass on to the rest of the country.