We don't know why, but we know every state needs a slogan. Even the District needed a slogan, and so it just got that new one that fairly trips off the tongue: "Celebrate the city -- discover the world!"

We also know such slogans are often -- well, not limited to verifiable fact, let's say. Just think about "Maryland: More Than You Can Imagine" and "Virginia Is for Lovers." Or "West Virginia, a Welcome Change." Or "New Jersey and You, Perfect Together."

But none of this explains Pennsylvania. Just drive north to its border and you will be greeted by the cheery new slogan "Pennsylvania: Where America Begins."

I confess to having had a momentary lapse on first viewing that sign. Where had I been? Isn't Maryland in America? Someone suggested the slogan refers to the Philadel- phia Congress, the Liberty Bell, the beginning of the U.S.A. But I contend that would require "Where America Began."

Florida, Maine, Alaska, even Michigan and North Dakota -- any state that borders another country or the ocean -- could claim that America begins there. But Pennsylvania is surrounded by lots of America.

I suggest a new state slogan: "Pennsylvania: Where We've Got a Lot of Nerve."