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Old 06-30-2008, 08:33 AM   #1
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Location: In Connecticut, on the Housatonic River near its mouth at Long Island Sound.
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Default Happy 50th, Alaska!

Today is the 50th anniversary of the date Congress approved statehood for Alaska (it actually became a state in January 1959). I was there, a junior at Anchorage High School and cub reporter/intern at the Anchorage Daily News.

Anchorage celebrated with a huge bonfire, lit off at midnight, which is when we celebrated lots of weird stuff in the summer (since it never got dark). I have been rummaging through old photo albums, but see none of the bonfire and very little after about 1954. I think my father converted from b&w photos to slides in the late 50s, and I have no idea where the slides have gone. Alas.

But thinking about statehood, and the hullaballoo preceding the event, has sent me off on a wave of nostalgia. The population of the state is now about 650,000; when I lived there, it was about a fifth of that. Anchorage, where we lived, was the largest city. Since so many Alaskans were military (or, like my father, military employees), that would make sense: Anchorage had both Fort Richardson and Elmendorf AFB.

Anyway, lift a glass for the great State of Alaska! Happy anniversary.

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