Celebrating state’s bicentennial has been fun

This year marks the 200th that Indiana has officially been a part of the United States, and there have been many events to celebrate the anniversary of its statehood.

Celebrations have included the Jonathan Jennings bison, the Bison-tennial Public Art Project and the “Happy Birthday, Indiana” activity, all of which are part of the local Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project.

Jonathan Jennings, an anti-slavery and pro-statehood activist, was elected Indiana’s first governor in 1816, and he is the source of our county’s name as well as that of our bison. The Jonathan Jennings bison has attended numerous events in Jennings County this year, including the Indiana State Fair, the homecoming parade and the Strawberry Festival.

United Ways all around Indiana worked to lead the Bison-tennial Public Art Project in order to bring attention to Indiana’s 200th birthday and the hard work they do for our communities. Additionally, this is the first project of its kind to do so.

The “Happy Birthday, Indiana” project was one hosted by the Indiana State Library that had fourth graders within Jennings County submit birthday cards to have them placed into an archive for future enjoyment. The United Way had a hand in distributing the cards and sending them out to the library.

Jennings County High School has even taken steps to join the effort of celebrating the state’s 200th birthday.

“In honor of the Indiana bicentennial, the high school library purchased over 60 new books that were Indiana specific. Each book is extremely informative and interesting,” said Mary Hendricks, an employee in the high school’s library. “We are happy to expose our students to the rich and diverse Indiana culture to help them appreciate our state, as we all celebrate its 200th birthday.”

Social studies teacher Bill Lane said Indiana history is important and offered his personal feelings why.

“We are Hoosiers, 6 million strong. We eat tenderloins, we watch race cars go round and round, we play euchre and we love our basketball. We root for our Colts, Pacers, Fighting Irish, Hoosiers and Boilermakers. We are not sure where our nickname came from, but we sure are proud to be Hoosiers.”