Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Michigan's 21st Infantry

TUEBOR. Michigan's flag and coat of arms use this Latin word which roughly translates to "I will defend." At the time Michigan became a state in 1837, it was part of the United States' western frontier, and "I will defend" referred to Michigan's role in protecting the country and its citizens from northern and western threats. Now, Tuebor means something entirely different to me as a Michigander living on the East Coast.
Since 1997, when I made the decision to leave my beloved state, I have lived in Chicago, Connecticut and Northern Virginia. I often find myself defending my peninsulas from the misinformed comments of our fellow Americans:
“Detroit, that’s really dangerous, isn’t it?”
“Michigan? Wow, the economy is really bad there…”
Yes, Detroit has suffered. Yes, Michigan has seen a population decrease and a loss of jobs in the last few decades. And yes, Michigan has some rebuilding to do.
However, Michigan's foundation is strong. It includes the Great Lakes and many smaller lakes, two peninsulas, excellent universities, northern mountains and southern plains, fall leaves, cider mills, sand dunes, winter sports, long summer days, boating, small and large businesses, and most importantly its people. Upon this foundation, new businesses, new technologies and new innovators will flourish.
Michiganders will persevere. Michiganders will flourish. Michiganders will defend. Whenever I meet someone who has actually lived in Michigan, the conversation rarely turns towards the negative issues that our national media focuses on. Instead, we talk about the things we love and miss about Michigan, like the relatively low cost of living, four actual seasons, the more relaxed way of life, people knowing how to drive, college football and Coney dogs.
The conversations also turn towards the positive things happening in the state, such as the burgeoning film industry, the tech startups, the many pioneers trying to rebuild Detroit and those awesome Pure Michigan ads that make me want to take a year off just exploring the Great Lakes State, especially the many areas that I have not had the privilege to visit.
Michigan is in my blood. It is who I am. My paternal great grandparents immigrated to Michigan from Poland, and my maternal grandparents moved to Detroit from Pennsylvania. They all came to Michigan for a better way of life…and I believe that better way of life still exists in Michigan.

Wherever I may roam, I am a Michigander for life. Tuebor!

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