5 Best State Nicknames

Every state has its own nickname, official or otherwise. These nicknames can be found on license plates, souvenirs, and memorabilia — and they also remain in the public consciousness through songs, movies, and books. If you’ve always wondered which states have the best nicknames, you’re about to find out. Our list of America’s top-ranked state monikers (and the stories behind them) will delight and amuse you.

The Volunteer State: Tennessee

The Volunteer State: Tennessee

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It’s widely believed that Tennessee was nicknamed “The Volunteer State” after the War of 1812. During this war, Tennessee played an important role in America’s victory against the British.

In 1813, Tennessee governor Willie Blount put the word out that volunteers were needed to fight — and thousands of men signed up immediately. This helped to cast the relatively unknown region into the national spotlight. And, the state continued to cement its relevance in the public’s eye after Tennessee troops helped lead the army to a victory in the 1815 Battle of New Orleans.

The state’s reputation for self-sacrificial public service continued decades later during the Mexican–American War. At this time, the secretary of state requested 2,800 soldiers from Tennessee; upwards of 30,000 volunteers responded to the call. To this day, the volunteer mentality remains an important part of daily life in Tennessee. In fact, the intercollegiate athletics teams at the University of Tennessee are known as The Volunteers.

The Show-Me State: Missouri

The Show-Me State: Missouri

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Another unofficial nickname for a state, the “Show-Me State” is nevertheless an incredibly popular moniker and can be found on Missouri license plates. While the exact story behind this nickname is unclear, there’s a popular theory as to where it originated.

In 1899, Missouri Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver gave a speech at a naval banquet. In this speech, he talked about his cautious and reserved nature. Vandiver stressed to his audience that he always appreciated hard facts instead of “frothy eloquence.” He then went on to utter the famous line, “I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”

Some other potential origin stories are less than flattering. For example, some people believe that the nickname was used as a means of ridicule during the Leadville miners’ strike (1896-1897) in Colorado. Accordingly, Missouri miners were brought in to work during the strike. Since they were unfamiliar with the mining methods in Colorado, pit bosses often had to “show” them how things were done.

Either way, the “show me” mentality is now considered a positive representation of the candid and practical nature of Missouri residents.

The Peach State: Georgia

The Peach State: Georgia

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Few images are more iconic than a Georgia peach in America. In fact, Georgia is one of the top four peach-producing states in the country. Today, the peach is Georgia’s official state fruit and can even be found on a Georgia quarter.

In fact, peaches are so important in Georgia that the state holds an annual peach festival every June. Attracting upwards of 10,000 visitors, the Georgia Peach Festival celebrates the beginning of peach season and honors peach farmers for their contributions to the state’s economy.

Events held during the festival include a parade, music concerts, and a Miss Georgia Peach pageant. The world’s largest peach cobbler is also baked during the festival every year. In 2019, the cobbler took 90 pounds of butter, 75 gallons of peaches, and 150 pounds of sugar to make.

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The Cornhusker State: Nebraska

The Cornhusker State: Nebraska

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Although it was originally known as the Tree Planter’s State, Nebraska took on its current nickname in 1945. The name “The Cornhuskers” actually comes from the athletic teams at the University of Nebraska.

Corn has always been an important part of Nebraskan life. Considered one of the breadbasket states, Nebraska’s nickname is an excellent representation of the important role the state plays in American agriculture. Nebraska generally produces over one billion bushels of corn each year, with over nine million acres of land dedicated to growing the crop.

In fact, Nebraska is so well known for its cornfields that the association has worked its way into pop culture — the popular horror film Children of the Corn is set in a fictional Nebraskan town.

The Hoosier State: Indiana

The Hoosier State: Indiana

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This is one of the oldest state nicknames — and also one of the most mysterious. The name “hoosier” seems to have appeared out of nowhere, with its origins even a puzzle to state residents way back in the 1830s. One of the earliest appearances of the word in writing occurred in 1827 in the diary of one Sandford Cox, an Indiana politician.

In 1832, a letter between an Indiana civilian and a general referenced a boat named the Indiana Hoosier. Then, no one seemed quite sure where the word came from — just that it was used to refer to residents of Indiana.

One theory suggests that the term originated in the way Indiana settlers responded when someone knocked on their door: “Who’s yere?” These words may have eventually combined to become the word “hoosier.” Another theory suggests that the word derives from “hoozer,” a term meaning “hill dweller” in a particular English dialect. Regardless of its origins, however, the name “hoosier” is seen as a positive, if not mysterious, badge of honor by Indiana locals today.

4 Most Active Volcanoes in the World

There are approximately 1,500 active volcanoes around the world today. When volcanoes erupt, they can cause immense damage, destroying towns, forcing massive relocations, and even grounding planes. While some volcanoes lie dormant for decades, others are more active. Here are four of the world’s most active volcanoes.

Stromboli, Italy

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Located in the south of Italy among the Aeolian Islands, Stromboli is one of the most popular volcanoes for tourists to visit. Beautiful beaches and incredible vegetation surround it. Stromboli has been erupting almost non-stop since the 1930s and was fairly active for 2,000 years before that. Its fiery eruptions mean that it glows for miles in the night, which has led it to be nicknamed “the lighthouse of the Mediterranean.” Stromboli’s eruptions are generally small but frequent, with streams of lava spewing from its summit approximately every 20 minutes. This style of eruption is so distinct to Stromboli that scientists refer to any other volcano with small, frequent eruptions as “Strombolian.”

Stromboli is also unique in that ancient records all indicate that it has been active for as long as people have been able to keep track of it — this volcano has never lied dormant. Fortunately, it rarely erupts in any sort of catastrophic explosion. Only three times in the past 100 years has Stromboli caused human fatalities or property damage: once in 1919, once in 1930, and, most recently, in 2003. Otherwise, this volcano is relatively safe despite its steady stream of activity.

Of course, as with any natural phenomena like this, Stromboli does still pose a risk. One of its most significant hazards is the Sciara del Fuoco, or Stream of Fire — this large scar stretches along the northwest edge of the volcano. If it collapses, it could cause tsunamis and dangerous clouds of volcanic material to erupt into the air.

Piton de la Fournaise, France

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Piton de la Fournaise is located on France’s island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. It erupts approximately once every nine months. Although it is in a state of nearly constant eruption, these eruptions are generally small and harmless. Piton de la Fournaise’s activity tends to consist of one explosion of lava, followed by a slow, steady lava stream down the mountain. While this could pose significant problems in populated areas, the lands around this volcano are mostly uninhabited due to its constant activity. This means that the eruptions cause little to no damage when they do occur.

Scientists closely monitor Piton de la Fournaise in the Piton de la Fournaise Volcano Observatory. These scientists can predict eruptions several weeks before they happen, which gives them plenty of time to warn hikers, close the paths, and provide emergency instructions to anyone staying nearby. When no eruptions are expected, the volcano is open for people to hike and sightsee, and plenty of tourists visit — The La Réunion islands are a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This volcano has only had two catastrophic eruptions in the past 50 years. The first occurred in 1977 when an unusually strong lava flow made it to a populated area and caused severe damage to the village of Piton Sainte-Rose. The second was 30 years later, in 2007 — a considerable eruption released dangerous clouds of sulfur and sent a strong stream of lava down the mountain, destroying the island’s main road.

Mount Etna, Italy

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The second most active volcano on earth, Mount Etna is in the south of Italy, near Sicily. Locally known as “Mongibello,” or “Beautiful Mountain,” this enormous volcano currently stands over 10,000 feet high, although this is subject to change — its frequent eruptions often cause Mount Etna to grow as lava solidifies along the top of the mountain. This volcano is the tallest in Italy.

Although Mount Etna’s eruptions rarely cause any damage, disruptions do still happen. In July of 2019, a particularly ashy eruption forced authorities to close two airports in Catania, Sicily. One flight had to be diverted, and several more could not take off. There was also once an attempt to divert a flow of lava that was threatening Catania. This attempt, which occurred in 1992, was called “Operation Volcano Buster.” It involved United States Marines working with the Italian government to take explosives and blast a large hole on the side of the volcano. They then dropped concrete into the hole in an attempt to slow down the lava. Unfortunately, they were ultimately unsuccessful.

However, Mount Etna is mostly harmless and is even good for Sicily’s economy. The fertile soil it creates ensures that residents do very well agriculturally. The volcano also brings in quite a bit of money from tourism, as visitors to the island flock to see it.

Mount Kilauea, United States

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Mount Kilauea is currently the most active volcano in the world. It is on the island of Hawai’i, also known as The Big Island — the southernmost Hawaiian island. This unique volcano is in the middle of the longest eruption ever recorded, which began back in 1983. This eruption has produced lava covering over 100 square miles of land and has expanded the coastline of the island.

Mount Kilauea is so active that it has become part of Hawaii’s traditional Polynesian legends. According to these legends, Mount Kilauea is home to the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, Pele. Pele is both a destroyer and a creator — while the eruptions cause damage, the solidified lava creates new land and fertilizes the existing soil.

Kilauea is a UNESCO World Heritage property, part of a national park, and can be visited by tourists. Although sections of the park are closed due to recent eruptions, visitors can stop at the Kilauea Visitor Center to see what’s open, learn about hiking routes, and sign up for activities. But make sure you don’t take any lava rocks with you; this is considered disrespectful to Pele, and locals strongly discourage it.

A Father’s Influence

NIGHT LIKE FOR PARENTS

“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” Malachi 4:6

Bill Haughton, president of a large construction firm, had hired and managed thousands of employees. He was asked, “When you are thinking of hiring an employee—especially a man—what do you look for?” His answer may surprise you. He said, “I look primarily at the relationship between the man and his father. If he felt loved by his dad and respected his authority, he’s likely to be a good employee.”

Haughton may have been familiar with the biblical story of Eli. A priest of Israel, Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. Eli apparently failed to discipline his children when they were young; the two sons did not respect their father. They rebelled against him and against the Word of God, appropriating the people’s animal sacrifices for their own meals and threatening anyone who resisted them (1 Samuel 2:12–17). When Eli heard about what his sons were doing, he spoke to them, but they ignored his warnings (vv. 23–25). Their actions offended God, eventually bringing on judgment (3:11–13) and death (4:17).

Dad, never underestimate the incredible influence you have on your children. It can make the difference between disaster and lives that are successful and pleasing to Him.

Before you say good night…

How did your dad influence the person you’ve become today?

What kind of impact do you think you’re having on your kids?

Are you the kind of father God wants you to be?

(father) Almighty God, thank You for the privilege of fatherhood. I want so much to lead my children onto right paths for their lives. Despite my sometimes inadequate efforts, let my kids achieve the holy plan You’ve set out for them. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

What Did You Say?

NIGHT LIKE FOR COUPLES

“Let the wise listen and add to their learning.” Proverbs 1:5

Men may use less speech than women, but both sexes have been accused of not using their sense of hearing. “You never told me that” is a common household refrain. I (jcd) am reminded of the night my father was preaching at an open tent service. During his sermon, an alley cat decided to take a nap on the platform. My father, who was 6’4″, took a step backward and planted his heel squarely on the poor creature’s tail. The cat went crazy, scratching and clawing to free himself. But Dad, intent on his message, didn’t notice. He later said he thought the screech came from the brakes of automobiles at a nearby stop sign. When my father finally moved his foot, the cat took off like a Saturn rocket.

This story illustrates the communication problem many couples face.

For example, a wife “screams” for attention and intimacy but feels that he doesn’t even notice. It’s not that he can’t hear her; it’s that he’s thinking about something else or is completely misinterpreting her signals. This situation can easily be improved by simply “tuning in” to the station on which your mate is broadcasting. The truth is that careful listening feels so much like love that most of us can hardly tell the difference.

Just between us…

  • When we tell each other something that doesn’t get through, who is to blame—the “sender,” the “receiver,” or both?
  • What have you wanted to say, but didn’t because you couldn’t get my attention?
  • How could learning to listen better to each other help us listen better to God?

Dear God, teach us the wisdom and grace of listening. Help us to pay attention to each word as though we were listening to You. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.