On May 20 in Old Shawneetown, considered the historic gateway to the Illinois Territory, the Gallatin County Historical Society held a Bicentennial Flag ceremony to honor our state's history.
Gallatin County historian Christy Short led the program by welcoming all in attendance, including distinguished guests state Sen. Dale Fowler, Shawneetown Mayor Mona Crane and Jenny Pruitt, representing Congressman John Shimkus.
Gov. Bruce Rauner's slogan 'Born, Built and Grown in Illinois" was brought to light in the remarks given by Christy Short. She also shared from the Executive Order establishing the Illinois Bicentennial, that the Bicentennial of our statehood is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the many cultural, economic, academic, and political contributions that Illinois and its residents have made to the nation and the world.
The National Society Sons of the American Revolution Long Knives Chapter, presented the colors followed by the gun salute with muskets and cannon.
The Knights of Columbus Post 1581 Color Guard and the American Legion Post 596 Color Guard were present. Candy Duncan Evans, member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Michael Hillegas Chapter led the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America.
Shawneetown Lions members and fire department personnel, Gallatin County Tourism, and many others were in attendance.
A benediction was given by Art Heath, president of the historical society.
Following the ceremony both historic banks were open to the public with docents on site.
A paper airplane contest was held for all the kids. The children gathered in the lot where the historic Docker's Riverside Hotel once stood. At the appointed time, the contestants sent off their paper airplane from the levee; the farthest flight was the winner. Prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places were a crisp $2 bill, a coupon for a free ice cream sundae at the Dairy Queen in Harrisburg and a chocolate candy replica of the 5 column bank-front on a stick, created by local artist Laura Bentley Henson.
Local food vendors were on-site for those needing a good lunch.
The historical society enjoyed bringing our bicentennial history to light and encourage you to share our history with everyone you meet. We look forward to seeing more visitors at the two historic banks in old Shawneetown on the first and third Sundays of each month from 1-4 p.m. through October of this year.
You can follow us on our Gallatin County Historical Society Face Book page as well.