Let's get one thing out of the way right now: The Grand Canyon is the best thing Arizona has going for it now and for all time.

That's one reason we've given the Canyon its own category in this "Best of Arizona" section.

Our idea is to celebrate some of our favorite things about Arizona - past and present - since we became a state on Feb. 14, 1912.

We argued among ourselves about what "best" means. Most popular? Most significant? Most distinctive? We left it to the people who picked the honorees to decide and to back up their judgments in the text.

We'd love to hear about your choices, too. Add your reader comments online at azstarnet.com/az100, where the section is posted. You'll also find our previous centennial sections and daily centennial stories there.

Stay tuned for Feb. 12, 2012, for our birthday-party section.

- Bobbie Jo Buel, editor