Bicentennial ceremony held in Jonesboro
The State of Illinois, Union County and the City of Jonesboro all will be celebrating their bicentennials during 2018.
On Sunday, Dec. 3, Gov. Bruce Rauner and leaders of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission officially kicked off the state’s yearlong 200th birthday celebration during ceremonies which were held at Navy Pier in Chicago.
During a noon hour ceremony on Monday, Dec. 4, the City of Jonesboro hosted a bicentennial flag raising ceremony. The ceremony was held on the square in the heart of Jonesboro.
City officials and others gathered for the raising of an official Illinois Bicentennial flag, which will be flown over the square.
Jonesboro Mayor Ken Blandford presided over Monday’s ceremony.
Blandford opened the ceremony by thanking the many people who worked to make the special event possible, including Jonesboro City Council members, office staff, municipal employees and others.
The mayor then read a proclamation which had been drafted by attorney Wes Wilkins.
The proclamation noted that “December 3, 2018, will mark the 200th birthday of the City of Jonesboro, County of Union and the State of Illinois, as the City of Jonesboro and County of Union were officially organized and Illinois became the 21st state in the union on Dec. 3, 1818...
“...the City of Jonesboro, Union County and the Illinois Bicentennial will be a year long celebration, between December 4, 2017, and December 3, 2018, which will be our City, County and State’s 200th birthday; and...
“...this Bicentennial Celebration will honor the many ways that Illinois and our local community have achieved, innovated and inspired pride in Illinois, our City and County, in showing the world what makes the place we all love and call ‘home,’ so special...
“...the City of Jonesboro desires to begin this year long Bicentennial celebration by raising a special Bicentennial Flag on the Jonesboro City Square, which flag shall be flown with pride throughout the next year...
“...Therefore, it is with great pride and in recognition of nearly 200 years of outstanding and historic accomplishments that I, Ken Blandford, Mayor of the City of Jonesboro, Do Hereby Proclaim Monday, December 4, 2017, to the be the official kick-off of the Jonesboro Bicentennial celebration!”
Union County Flag Raising Ceremony
Union County plans to formally join the celebration at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8, with a proclamation reading and ceremonial flag raising in front of the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.
A special Illinois Bicentennial flag has been provided by the State of Illinois to counties and municipalities and is to be flown either beside or below the state flag during the entire bicentennial year.
The flag will officially be raised in Union County by the Anna VFW Post No. 3445 color guard.
Members of the public are invited to join local officials for the event.
County Bicentennial Kickoff in January
The Union County Historical and Genealogy Society plans to kick off the celebration of the county’s bicentennial on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.
The kick off event is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Union County Courthouse.
The event will feature a reading of the official document which established Union County, appearances by various local notable figures from the era, historical exhibits, hard cider and a fiddler.
At last Saturday’s official kickoff of the State of Illinois’ bicentennial celebration in Chicago, officials noted that the commemoration will pay tribute to the people, places, and things that are being Born, Built and Grown in the nation’s fifth most populous state.
“This is an opportunity to celebrate all that has been great in our first 200 years and lay the foundation for 200 more years of growth and prosperity,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said.
“Illinois is home, and the bicentennial gives us a chance to reflect on how we can continue to make it great for our children and grandchildren.”
The Illinois Bicentennial will be celebrated during a year-long series of events which began on Dec. 3, 2017, and continues through Dec. 3, 2018.
“The bicentennial is a once-in-a-lifetime invitation to fall in love with Illinois all over again,” said Gloria Castillo, co-chairwoman of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission and president and CEO of Chicago United.
“Throughout the next 365 days, Illinois Bicentennial will pay tribute to the people, places, and things that are being born, built and grown here every single day.”
The Navy Pier festivities mark the beginning of events and projects that the commission has planned to kick off the celebration around the state.
An Illinois Bicentennial Exhibit was previewed Saturday at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library in Springfield, with music provided by the Illinois Symphony.
A simultaneous bicentennial flag-raising was scheduled to take place at municipalities around the state at noon Monday, Dec. 4, to note the beginning of the state’s 200th year.
The Illinois Municipal League and United Airlines partnered to provide complimentary flags to counties and municipalities statewide, and the Commission will also host a flag raising ceremony at McCormick Place at noon on Dec. 4.
During his kickoff address, the governor encouraged all citizens to participate in the celebration, to visit illinois200.com and to use the hashtag #IllinoisProud on their social media posts.
Randy Dunn, the president of the Southern Illinois University system, also is serving as a co-chair of the Illinois Bicentennial Commisison.