( – promoted by buhdydharma )
I am so very proud to be markin’ the 50th anniversary of Alaska becomin’ part of these great United States! Alaska became the 49th state in 1959. I must apologize though, because technically I’m wishin’ Alaska a belated happy birthday since statehood became official on Jan 3rd, 1959. Wouldn’t you know it, I needed a few extra weeks there to realize that 2009 – 1959 = 50! But what the heck, we’ll be celebratin’ all year with things like commemorative license plates and commemorative stamps. As you can see it’s a very pretty stamp, but unfortunately can only be used to ship extremely large packages:
Now I gotta tell ya, the story of Alaskan statehood is a long one, filled with lots of gibberish and boring details that may or may not be true:
In 1867, Secretary of State William Seward bought Alaska from those pesky Russians for $7.2 million. At first, Americans responded by askin’ “What the H-E-double-toothpicks are you thinkin’, Mr.Seward?” Alaska was perceived to be so worthless that it wasn’t even good enough to be part of Canada. Despite being overrun by polar bears, Seward felt Alaska would pay off with natural resources like timber and beaver pelts. He also knew that gooey black stuff bubblin’ up from underground seemed useful somehow, and although he didn’t know how useful at the time, he wanted to make darn sure it was ours and not the Russians’.
America then lost interest in Alaska until 1897. That’s when the breaking news from August 1896 was finally reported by the liberal media — gold had been discovered! The Klondike Gold Rush was on! Unemployed bums and other assorted riff-raff from around the world poured into Alaska tryin’ to strike it rich. Alaska’s economy boomed with the sudden overwhelming demand for shovels, whiskey, and prostitutes. This began a glorious period of exploitin’ the land and native people of Alaska for big profits that continues to this day.
Although patriotic Alaskans have a long and proud history of keepin’ an eye on the Russians, they should have been watchin’ the Japanese too, because they attacked and captured the Aleutian islands of Attu and Kiska in 1942. The U.S. military responded by buildin’ the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek to Fairbanks. This isn’t anywhere near Attu or Kiska and was somethin’ of a “Highway to Nowhere” at the time. Eventually the army did get to Attu and Kiska though. The joint force of Americans and Canadians known as the Devil’s Brigade participated in the battle. I certainly didn’t approve of namin’ a brigade of our brave fighting men after the devil, but I did appreciate them finally throwin’ the Japanese outta there in 1943.
A wave of patriotism after the war led to a drive for Alaskan statehood in 1949. But when it came up for a vote in 1950, statehood was blocked in the Senate by a coalition of conservative Republicans and southern Democrats. The Republicans held a slim majority and were afraid Alaskans weren’t patriotic enough yet and might vote Democrat. And in 1954 President Eisenhower made a speech askin’ for Hawaii to be admitted as a state, but NOT Alaska. I can forgive him for that though, because he expected Hawaii to vote Republican. Alaskans weren’t happy and decided to teach Eisenhower a lesson by havin’ an election in 1956 without bein’ a state yet. William Egan and Ernest Gruening were elected Senators, and Ralph Rivers was elected as a Representative. Off they went to Washington, but they got the “Burris” treatment when they tried to be seated in Congress (plus no one had set up extra chairs) and they had to return home without any pork.
Now I don’t know what Eisenhower was smokin’ back then if he thought Hawaii would vote Republican and Alaska would vote Democrat. Nowadays Alaska is among our most patriotic states while Hawaii is about as commie as they get! But for some reason that Wikipedia does not explain, Eisenhower changed his mind in 1958 and came out in support of statehood for Alaska. The Speaker of the House, Sam Rayburn, then changed his mind too and supported statehood. Why did they finally change their minds? I don’t know for sure. There are rumors about Alaskan contractors doin’ some work on certain people’s houses for free, but that’s all in the past now. The important thing is that Alaska finally became a state on January 3, 1959. The U.S. flag industry was then thrown into turmoil havin’ to go around and sew an extra star onto everybody’s flag, and they got REALLY steamed eight months later when Hawaii was admitted as a state and they had to go around fixin’ all those flags again! But they’ve had plenty of time to get over it since there is no way we’re lettin’ Puerto Rico in any time soon.
So please join me in toastin’ Alaska on their 50th birthday!