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The history behind the state motto of Indiana began with a column in the Evansville Courier, written in the 1930s by J. Roy Strickland, who reminded people that Indiana still did not have an official motto despite the fact that a number of states within the US had adopted one, either officially or unofficially. He asked readers to suggest a state motto and forwarded the suggestions to the Indiana General Assembly through a letter. A committee comprised of three members from the Senate and two members from the House studied the list of suggestions and finally selected “The Crossroads of America” to be the state motto of Indiana. On March 2, 1937, the 18th Session of the General Assembly adopted “The Crossroads of America” to become the state motto of Indiana in Joint Resolution No. 6.
Interestingly enough, “The Crossroads of America” was adopted to be both the state motto and state slogan of Indiana. The reason why the General Assembly adopted that particular motto over all the other suggestions was due to the significance of the meaning behind the words in relation to Indiana’s status within the United States. The belief was that many important roads, waterways and railways in the US occurred within Indiana’s boundary.
The National Road, which is now US Route 40, was the first major road to pass through Indiana. Indiana Harbor, Michigan Ports and Buffington also serve as connections to other ports through the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes. To the south, Southwind and Clark ports grant access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River.
The state motto of Indiana is not recorded in the state’s code, but is clearly written on Indiana’s state quarter. The quarter also has 18 small stars and one larger star, symbolizing Indiana’s induction into the United States as the 19th state. The state flag also has 18 stars, with one perched on top of the flame of the torch of liberty, representing the state of Indiana.
Other official symbols in Indiana include the cardinal, which is the state bird, and the tulip tree, which is the state tree. The peony is the state flower, and the state stone of Indiana is the Salem stone. An unofficial nickname for Indiana is “The Hoosier State.”
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