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A specially painted Alaska Airlines jet adorned with a Sitka high school student's winning design touched down in Sitka, Alaska, this morning, to celebrate 50 years of Alaska statehood. The unique livery on a Boeing 737-400 aircraft dubbed the "Spirit of Alaska Statehood" was created by 16-year-old Hannah Hamberg. It features a musher and sled dog, state ferry, Native Alaskan canoe, bear and whale, along with the statement, "We're all pulling together."

Governor Palin along with the Alaska Statehood Celebration Commission and the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development developed the program.

Following the welcoming ceremony in Sitka, the aircraft will depart for Anchorage and other Alaska cities. The plane will be routed throughout Alaska and the West Coast to celebrate the unique role air travel plays in the everyday lives of Alaskans.

"The 'Spirit of Alaska Statehood' aircraft symbolizes 50 years of independence and fortitude," said Bill MacKay, Alaska Airlines' senior vice president for the state of Alaska. "This unique plane will showcase our state's proud heritage everywhere it flies and have a very special place in our hearts for years to come."
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