The “Land of Tomorrow:” Why every Kentuckian should be proud of their home


The University of Kentucky Equine team’s president, Mackenzie Mentzer practices with other members of the team on the morning of Tuesday, September 26, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. The equine team moved into the new barn and training location built by head trainer and owner, Diana Conlon, on Labor Day. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Cameron Luker

Kentucky is a lot like your family. Sure, you make fun of it sometimes or complain about it every once in a while, but if somebody from outside says anything, then they’ve got another thing coming.

I remember wanting to leave Kentucky after college. Who wouldn’t want to live in a big city with so much to see and do? Louisville is cool, but it’s not Chicago, New York City or Los Angeles when it comes to excitement and extravagance.

But then I came across a tweet.

It said something along the lines of “I’m so thankful I live in California and not some place like Kentucky.” Like any born and raised Kentuckian, I was furious. How could this person attack our state which I doubt they’d ever visited, and do it in such a dismissive way?

My anger was softened by the comments from proud Kentuckians, who responded with positivity and listed the things they loved about living in Kentucky. This made me think of why I was proud to be a Kentuckian, and why you should be too.

People have known Kentucky is special place for a long time. The state was named by the Cherokee, and it means “Land of Tomorrow.” Daniel Boone once said that “Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place” and Happy Chandler said that he’d “never met a Kentuckian who wasn’t either thinking about going home or actually going home.”

I believe in these observations wholeheartedly. Kentucky mystique is about balance. We are perfectly nestled between the North and South, and just like a good bourbon aging in a barrel we take on the best flavors from both. Kentucky is big enough that we have a massive and beautiful diversity of landscapes and people, but small enough that every person in this state knows at least one of your second cousins.

We know how to work hard whether we’re farming, mining, building Corvettes or cooking the most famous fried chicken in the world. But we also know how to have fun with our love for basketball, bourbon, bluegrass and big hats (pick your poison).

This state is full of history and tradition, and that’s something to be proud of. I challenge you to keep your eyes dry when My Old Kentucky Home is sung on the first Saturday in May or to not be inspired the great people who have called this state their home.

It has been said that to be born in Kentucky is a heritage, to brag about it is a habit, and to appreciate it is a virtue. Wherever you were raised or choose to call home in the Bluegrass State, I  know you love and appreciate it in your own way. Someone who grew up in Bowling Green will see Kentucky quite a bit differently than someone from Possum Trot, Murray, Louisville, or Pikeville.

We can all have our own definition of what Kentucky means and they are all right. This is Kentucky’s greatest asset.

This state has a tradition of balance, but we can’t forget to move forward too. We can’t forget we are the land of tomorrow. If we want to be virtuous and appreciative Kentuckians, we have to lead. We want what is best for Kentucky, and although that looks like different things for different people, it is our responsibility to be active citizens who understand that united we stand, divided we fall.