Of the 170 different types of Irises in North America, the purple Iris is considered to be the Tennessee State Flower. Although the act naming it did not specify a particular color, it grows abundantly across Tennessee and is often referred to as the Tennessee Iris.
The mockingbird was selected as the State Bird on April 11, 1933. Although it's noted for its ability to mimic the songs of other birds, it has a melodious song of its own.
The three stars represent the three separate regions of Tennessee: the mountains in the east, the highlands in the middle, and lowlands in the west. Although each area is different, the circle around the stars shows their interdependence upon one another.
Vice President Al Gore
"I sometimes like to remind people of the old science experiment involving a frog. Put the frog into a pot of boiling water and it jumps right out. It recognizes the danger. But put the same frog into a pot of lukewarm water and bring it slowly to a boil. It'll just sit there . . . The point of this story is that when the process of change seems gradual we have trouble recognizing it."
-- Excerpt from his speech on global warming
Vice President Al Gore was born on March 31, 1948, in Carthage, Tennessee. Fresh out of Harvard University in 1969 with a degree in government, he enlisted in the Army to serve in the Vietnam War. Returning from the war, Gore became an investigative reporter, attended Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Vanderbilt Law School, and operated a small homebuilding business, before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976. Following in his father's footsteps, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and was reelected in 1990, becoming the first candidate to win all 95 of Tennessee's counties. He also is the author of the national best-seller "EARTH IN THE BALANCE: Ecology and the Human Spirit."