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It's our day, and in Alaska, we'll celebrate — or at least we'll note that it's a day to appreciate Alaska and what it's brought to the United States.
It was 146 years ago that the United States bought Alaska from the Russians, who had ruled the land for 68 years out of Sitka.
On Oct. 18, 1867, a Sitka ceremony featured the rising of the U.S. flag.
The U.S. bought the territory for $7.2 million. U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signed the agreement, and he, rather than President Andrew Johnson, received most of the criticism from throughout the nation for wasting money on the purchase. Despite a price of about 2 cents per acre, Alaska became known as "Seward's Folly."
Discussion of the United States acquiring Alaska began before the Civil War, which delayed action on the purchase. Even when Seward revived the topic, it passed the Senate by only one vote.
Alaska has proven to be a wise purchase. Rich in natural resources, it has expanded the United States' horizons, providing oil, fish, timber and minerals for the world. Its beauty attracts worldwide travelers for a thriving tourism industry.
Alaska has invested its wealth from its resources well, i.e., the Alaska Permanent Fund. The wealth has built Alaska and Alaskans.
This day, as Alaskans, let's take at least a minute to think of all the good about Alaska and its people, for both are something to behold and appreciate. Certainly, it has its challenges, but Alaskans are up to them or we wouldn't be here.
And finally reflect on: If Seward hadn't pushed for the purchase of Alaska, we might all be living in . . . well, you name it.