Bicentennial birthday celebrations throughout Illinois - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Bicentennial birthday celebrations throughout Illinois

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Happy Birthday wishes are in order for Illinois.

The Prairie State officially turned 199 on December 3rd,  which means next year is the big one.

Usually, the older you get the less you want to celebrate a birthday, but in the case of Illinois, celebrations are an opportunity for everyone to show their pride for the land they love.  

Illinois kicked off bicentennial celebrations on Monday, all across the state to honor the many ways that Illinois has influenced American history.

While the state doesn't turn 200 until next year,  Peoria mayor Jim Ardis said starting a year long celebration in the beginning of December, will get the ball rolling for Illinois pride. 

"It'll be an opportunity for people to learn more about our state." said Ardis.  

Monday's bicentennial events began with several flag raising ceremonies throughout the land of Lincoln with folks from all over participating in commemorative festivities.

Bailey Campbell, a Pekin resident who attended a ceremony in front of the Tazewell County Courthouse said "Me singing the national anthem, it just shows my pride. United states has been a strong and proud union."

Speaking of the union, Illinois was the 21st state to join. Members of the honor guard fired off 21 rounds to celebrate. 

And for some, the ceremonies had an emotional impact.

Kay Draper, a member of the  Tazewell Area Ceremonial Team, held up a flag during the event. She said she was moved by the experience.  "I wanted to cry...I raised my family here. My grandchildren, great grand kids and I just want it to be great for them."

And the pride that many have for the state of Illinois will continue long after the state's birthday celebration.

Mike Eeten, a Pekin police officer says it's exciting to have  multiple opportunities to celebrate the state's bicentennial.

Eeton adds that despite Illinois' rocky history, folks should take pride in where they live.  "I mean let's face it. You know our state has a lot of problems you know, in a lot of ways, but we're still citizens of this great state and we need to be proud of that and we need to come together and find ways as citizens to make our state better and to rally together to celebrate."

For a full list of Illinois bicentennial events click here. 




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