Happy Birthday, U.S. Highway System!

21 Sep

highway-road-with-cars-wallpaper-4America celebrates its independence on July 4th, a date that represents the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution. But there’s a strong argument to be made that, over the course of our 260 years of nationhood, we’ve had several independence days.

There’s the 4th of July, of course, but there’s also April 9th, when a nation divided by civil war came back together. Or December 7th, a day that lived in infamy and ultimately transformed the isolationist U.S. into a global leader.

For those of us who truly love to drive, another Independence Day took place last week: the 60th anniversary of our highway system.

There are few rites of passage more associated with freedom than learning to drive, and few sights that drive home the vastness of our union more powerfully than the open road. The sense of wonder you experience on the Pacific Coast Highway, the comfort with which you can cross the country, the ease with which you can buy a product at the store that was hundreds of miles away the day before – none of these feelings would be ingrained in the American experience without the highway system.

A nation that spanned from sea to shining sea fascinated our ancestors, but the ability to experience every inch of that country, from swamps and beaches to mountains and deserts, to country so cold it could be Canada (and in some cases, it once was,) to country so hot it could be Mexico (and in many cases, it once was,) turns 60 years old this week.

And if that’s not worth a fireworks display, it’s at least worth a nice, long drive.