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Celebrating American heritage

American Heritage

At Centra, we strive to create value for our Members, Team Members, and the Communities we serve. Our goal of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion supports this vision.

This month, we’re celebrating American heritage by highlighting defining moments, influential people, and some fun facts about American history!

Defining moments for the generations

Over the last century, an abundance of major events, both tragic and joyful, have taken place that’ve helped shape the country we know today. Here are America’s top defining moments that impacted each generation early in their lives:

  • Matures/silent generation (1928-1945). The ending of World War II and the economic effects of the Great Depression defined this generation.
  • Baby boomers (1946-1964). The assassination of John F. Kennedy and the culture of the sixties defined this generation.
  • Gen X (1965-1980). The space shuttle Challenger disaster as well as the rise of technology and cable television defined this generation.
  • Millennial (1981-1996). The tragic events of September 11, 2001, and the rapid progress of technology defined this generation.
  • Gen Z (1997-2009). The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impacts will likely be the defining moment for this generation.

If you’re interested in learning more about which big events impacted Americans, visit LivingFacts.org!

Influential people

Many people have had a great impact on the country we know today. Here are some influential people in America’s past and present:

  • Henry Ford. The founder of Ford Motor Company innovated mass production techniques that quickly became the standard for automobile companies.
  • The Wright Brothers. Wilbur and Orville Wright are known as the inventors and pioneers of aviation. Fun fact! There’s a Wright Brothers museum in Hagerstown, IN.
  • Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted is best known as the architect who designed the grounds of New York City’s Central Park as well as the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.
  • Thomas Edison. Edison’s inventions include the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, and the motion picture camera, all of which have had a great influence on modern life.
  • Shirley Chisholm. Chisholm was the first Black woman to be elected to Congress and the first woman and Black American to seek Democratic presidential nomination.
  • Harper Lee. Best known for her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee was an American novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner.
  • Oprah Winfrey. Host of the highest rated talk show in American history, Winfrey was the first Black American woman to own her own production company.

Fun facts

American history is a popular subject in school, but you might be surprised at how many fascinating and odd facts you might not know!

  • Centra Credit Union was founded before there were 50 states. Hawaii and Alaska became the 49th and 50th states in 1959.
  • The original capitol of the U.S. was Philadelphia during 1790-1800 while Washington, D.C. was being built!
  • Abraham Lincoln is in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
  • The first face on the one-dollar bill actually wasn’t George Washington. It was Salmon P. Chase, the Secretary of Treasury at the time in 1862.
  • There are 27 different versions of the American flag.

Want to learn more?

Interested in learning more about American heritage and history? Here are some helpful resources: