Ben Henry - East Valley Tribune: Centennial Essays

Ben Henry

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Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2011 10:17 am | Updated: 11:11 am, Fri Apr 29, 2011.

It’s true that Arizona doesn’t have the best summer climate, but we have air conditioning, fans, and swimming pools. However, the winter climate is a winner. For those who get tired of treading through snow every single day of winter, Arizona is the place for you. While you’re here, you might want to pay a visit to the Grand Canyon or Montezuma Castle. Both are very worthwhile sights to see. Then, when your day is over, you might want to stay in Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Scottsdale, or Chandler. The people here are very thoughtful and caring (besides Jan Brewer and Sheriff Arpaio BOOM!) — and will help you find a good place to stay.

You might think that Arizona’s population is small, but you‘d be surprised at how many people come to live in this state. Arizona is known to be one of the fastest growing states in the U.S., so don’t be surprised if I told you that Arizona has 6.4 million people (according to the 2010 Census). How did Arizona become such a fast growing state? It all started in the year 1539 when a Spanish friar, Marco de Niza, wanted to confirm legends about the Seven Cities of Gold. A year later, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado set out to find the Seven Cities of Gold. He failed, but discovered something even better — the Grand Canyon. A couple centuries later, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, part of Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming were bought for $10,000,000 in the Gadsden Purchase, which was made by James Gadsden. It was not until February 14, 1912, that Arizona finally became a state. Thus, Arizona was given the nickname of the Valentine State.

Arizona is more commonly known as the Grand Canyon State because of the Grand Canyon, which is one of the 7 Wonders of the World. However, Arizona has more beautiful sights, such as Montezuma Castle, the Sonoran Desert, and Canyon de Chelly. Some people describe Arizona as the Italy of America because of the scenic views and the surrounding mountains. Yet another beautiful feature of Arizona is the colorful sunsets. Patrick Hamilton, the author of The Resources of Colorado states that, “ … there is no region on the globe, not even excepting the Italian peninsula, that can show such grand effects of light and shade, such gorgeousness of coloring, or such magnificent sun-bathed landscapes. When the banks of clouds around the western horizon look like masses of burnished gold set in a sea of silver, then is presented a picture to which neither pen nor pencil can do justice.” That is why Arizona is also called the Sunset State.

You cannot deny that Arizona is a beautiful place full of natural wonders. I am proud to live in a state that is host to these wonders. These marvels of nature are formed over millions and billions of years by nature, and no man can replicate them. From the monoliths in Monument Valley, to the Four Corners, through the Petrified Forest, into the Sonoran Desert, and over the Colorado River, all you see is a beautiful landscape of natural marvels that will leave you awestruck.

With all these qualities combined, Arizona is one great state indeed. Fair climate, stunning landmarks, historic cities, generous people, and a cheery personality. What else could you ask for? I’m proud to be an Arizonan because of all these qualities. No state is perfect, and Arizona certainly isn’t. But it’s a state that’s determined to help its people, and will support them again and again. This state did not ask for hardships or for unexpected surprises, but when these things happen, the people of Arizona will support one another. Being an Arizonan is something to be proud of!

• Ben Henry, Gateway Pointe Elementary, Gilbert

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