Tis the season for counting your lucky blessings. Pennsylvania has done a number of really great things for the United States over the years; debatably, it’s the best state in the entire country. Here are a few reasons why everyone should be thankful for PA…
1. Pennsylvania was vital in the United States' early history.
Presumably, you sat through social studies in grade school, so you don't need me to tell you how big of a role Philadelphia played during the Revolutionary period. The U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence were penned there, Betsy Ross sewed the flag there, Philadelphia was the temporary capitol of the country, and much more.
2. Pennsylvania steel built America.
Bethlehem Steel was the biggest producer of steel in the country and the second biggest producer of military ships in the country. Pennsylvania was a major center for other industries, though.
3. Pennsylvania's coal industry powered America.
Pennsylvania's location in the middle of the rust belt meant that it played a huge role in powering not only steel mills, but also railroads and cities across the entire nation. The industrial strength of Pennsylvania helped to give the North an upper hand during the Civil War.
4. The modern oil industry began in Titusville.
The oil rush began in the mid-1850s when petroleum was discovered in Titusville, and really took off once commercial drilling techniques were completed in 1859. This booming new industry led Titusville to expand from 250 residents to 10,000 residents in the blink of an eye.
5. Pennsylvania was founded on the ideal of freedom of choice.
William Penn established Pennsylvania as a colony where settlers could practice their religious beliefs without persecution. Though we have progressed to a different stage in history, today Pennsylvania is still a state that sees a full spectrum of beliefs and practices. It is a vital political battleground thanks to its position as a swing state.
6. Pennsylvania is home to 1 million veterans.
That's more than New York, Virginia, or Ohio. Considering Pennsylvania's population is 12 million people, a large percentage of the population has served in the military at one time.
7. Boalsburg, Pennsylvania is the birthplace of Memorial Day.
There is some controversy as to whether Boalsburg can single-handedly take credit for the holiday, as Waterloo, New York claims the title also. However, three women were the first to decorate soldiers' graves on the first Memorial Day in 1864.
8. Pennsylvania is also home to the most unloved American holiday.
Every year on February 2, a surly groundhog named Phil sticks his head out of a hole in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and either runs back inside his den, or doesn't. Some people think this is indicative of how long we have to wait until spring (really, sometimes he just remembered that he left the curling iron on). Regardless of how strange this holiday is, it is a fun tradition that rings in the first glimmers of spring after a long winter.
9. Pennsylvania has endowed the country with its abundant snack foods.
Herr's, Utz, Hershey's Chocolate, Peeps, A-Treat Soda: what would snack time be without us?
10. The first roller coaster in the country was the Mauch Chunk Gravity Railroad.
The simple mechanism was used to delivery coal to the area now known as Jim Thorpe in the 1850s, until thrill seekers began paying 50 cents to ride it for fun.
11. Taylor Swift.
One of the world's most popular musicians hearkens from Pennsylvania. Along with T-Swift, a host of other celebrities and notable figures call Pennsylvania home, including Bradley Cooper, Will Smith, Christine Taylor, and millions more.
What would you add to this list? Share in the comments below.