Monday, May 18, 2009


Ohio's the second state on our list I've lived in, and despite all of the non-love places like Cleveland are getting lately, I've got a lot of fond feelings for the Buckeye State. It became the 17th state admitted into the Union on March 1st, 1803, and has lived a long and rich history since then. It was the first state to use a traffic light (in Cleveland), to use police cars (in Akron), and to have a professional city fire department (in Cincinnati). It was also the birthplace of the hot-dog. Ohio's home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (which is absolutely worth a visit), and is the birthplace of Orville and Wilbur Wright, who are credited with making manned heavier-than-air flight possible. In addition to that, the Wright brothers have caused one of the most famous license-plate-slogan battles in U.S. history - as they were born in Ohio and did much of their development work there, but actually tested their famed glider in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Now the license plates of both states try to lay hold to their legacy (see below). You be the judge.

All license-plate feuds aside though, Ohio's great.

Our song for Ohio is a classic by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Neil Young wrote it in response to the Kent State shootings in 1970, and it subsequently became a rallying call for those who were appalled with the incident and the current administration. Young sings "Tin soldiers and Nixon coming" referring to the Ohio National Guard (who shot the unnarmed student protesters) and the then-current U.S. President, Richard Nixon. Crosby later said that Young keeping Nixon's name in the lyrics was "the bravest thing I ever heard." Even almost 40 years later, the song remains a powerful and haunting reminder of the tragic event.

Also considered: Modest Mouse - Ohio; Limbeck - In Ohio On Some Steps; The Band - Look Out Cleveland; Neal Casal - Cincinnati Motel; The Presidents of the United States of America - Cleveland Rocks! (Drew Carey Show theme)

mp3: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Ohio
from the album So Far (Amazon/iTunes)

Check out the rest of our SING THE STATES posts!

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