Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Bob Doughty with Gwen
Outen. Get ready for a ride. And hold on to your camera. Today we take you on a
lightning-fast trip to seven states in fifteen minutes.
We start in Washington. Not the capital city, but the state of Washington on
the other side of the country. It is in the Pacific Northwest, on the border
with Canada. It is the only state named after a president. George Washington was
the first president of the United States.
Washington State entered the union in 1889. It is a major shipping port for
Asia. Fishing is another big industry. So is technology. Washington State is
home to the biggest maker of computer programs, Microsoft. Boeing still makes
airplanes here. But its headquarters are now in Chicago.
Mountains divide Washington State. The east is heavily agricultural, but the
west gets most of the rain.
Washington is called the Evergreen State. It has lots
of trees that keep their leaves all year. Those trees are important to the
forest products industry. They are also important to the many people who hike
through forests and climb mountains. The highest one here is Mount Rainier, in
western Washington. It stands almost 4,400 meters above sea level.
Not too far away is Seattle. It is the largest city in Washington. But the
state capital is Olympia.
Washington is one of three states along the West Coast. As we leave
Washington, we travel south into Oregon. It became a state in
eighteen-fifty-nine. Forests cover a lot of the state. In fact, Oregon leads the
United States in wood production.
Visitors enjoy places like Crater Lake National Park. A volcano formed this
deep lake in the mountains. The bright blue water has appealed to photographers
from all over the world. Cities in Oregon include Portland, Eugene and the
From Oregon, we continue south into California. People from Spain settled the
land in the 1700s. Mexico later controlled it, until some of the land became the
American state. The capital is Sacramento.
Americans captured the California territory during the Mexican-American War
in the 1840s. The discovery of gold helped California join the United States in
Many gold miners came through San Francisco. And that is where we stop.
Visitors like to ride the old cable cars up and down the hills of the city. They
also like to see the Golden Gate Bridge. And, when they get hungry, many go for
seafood along Fisherman's Wharf.
To the south of San Francisco is the area with a large of number of computer
technology companies -- better known as Silicon Valley.
And a lot farther south is Los Angeles. Many communities form the city and
county of Los Angeles. One of them is Hollywood, the center of the film and
California has one of the largest economies in the world. It also has the
largest population in the country, more than thirty-five million people.
One-third of them are of Hispanic ancestry. But people come here from all over
These include a growing number from Africa. Population researchers say the
Los Angeles-Long Beach area has the third largest number of African-born people
in the United States. About 43,000 live there. About 12,000 live
farther south, in San Diego.
Now, from Southern California, we travel east into Arizona. Arizona is known
the Grand Canyon State. Over time, the Colorado River cut through stone and rock
to form the Grand Canyon. It is more than one and one-half kilometers deep.
Millions of people come to see it.
Arizona is a desert state. People
once thought the land was worthless. But today many people come to Arizona for
its hot, dry climate and its natural beauty. Phoenix is the largest city, and a
shipping center for agriculture. It is also the state capital.
Many people who come to Arizona visit Native American reservations. Indians
who live on these tribal lands must obey United States laws, but they also make
their own laws.
To the east of Arizona is New Mexico. Both states are on the border with the
country of Mexico. New Mexico has a rich Spanish history. It also has a lot of
land – almost three-hundred-fifteen thousand square kilometers. But fewer than
two million people live here.
Lots more come to hunt, fish, or snow ski. They also come to enjoy arts and
cultural activities. Santa Fe claims the largest collection of folk art in the
world. Santa Fe is the state capital. But the largest city is Albuquerque.
New Mexico has mines for coal, copper, potash and uranium. And it has around
as many cows as it has people. Cattle growers help keep some traditions of the
Old West alive. But New Mexico is also a center of scientific research. There
are national laboratories. In fact, the first atomic bomb was exploded in the
To the east of New Mexico is a state with a tradition of thinking big: Texas.
Texas has more land than any other state except Alaska.
There are still cowboys with big hats. That is true. But visitors can also
find a rich cultural life in cities like San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. The
city of Austin is the state capital.
Texas once belonged to Mexico. Mexican influence remains strong. More than
thirty percent of Texans are Hispanic. But many other groups also live here.
Among the more recent arrivals are people from Africa. About 47,000 live in
Houston and Dallas.
One of the places that many people like to visit in Texas
is a stone building in San Antonio called the Alamo. The American hero Davy
Crockett was among those who died in a long battle there. They were fighting for
independence from Mexico. "Remember the Alamo!" became a battle cry after that.
The Americans lost the battle of the Alamo, but they won the Mexican-American
war. Texas became a state in 1845.
From Texas we travel north into Oklahoma, deeper into the central part of the
United States. Oklahoma is our last stop today. It too has lots of land but not
a lot of people. It became a state in 1907.
Oklahoma is a big producer of fuel and food for the country. Flat areas and
low hills make good places to grow wheat and raise cows.
Years ago, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote a musical play called
Oklahoma is part of what people call the American heartland. People think of
the heartland as a peaceful place. So what happened in April of 1995 seemed
especially shocking. A bomb wrecked the Murrah Federal Office Building in
Oklahoma City, the state capital.
A former soldier angry at the government was executed for the attack. 168
people were killed. A national memorial now stands in place of the building to
honor the victims.
So, we have told you a few things about seven of the fifty states. Visitors
leave with memories of wide open spaces, and cities without enough space.
Forest-covered mountains, and flat, dry land without any trees as far as the eye
can see. Farmers working in their fields, and fields with workers drilling for
oil and natural gas. White-topped waves on the Pacific Ocean, and a golden sun
setting over the Grand Canyon.
If you do ever visit, don't forget to bring a camera.
Our program was written by Jerilyn Watson and produced by Caty Weaver. I'm
Bob Doughty with Gwen Outen. Our programs are online with transcripts and audio
archives at www.unsv.com. Listen again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA
（来源:VOA 英语点津 Annabel 编辑）