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home : columnists : columnists April 18, 2015

12/9/2012 11:00:00 PM
Celebrating Indiana's 196th birthday

By Kathy Kreag Richardson
Indiana State Representative, District 29

On December 11, Indiana turns 196 years old. As the 19th state admitted to the Union on December 11, 1816, Indiana set forth on a path that has served as the home for presidents, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and pharmaceutical prominence. Although, we often think of someone, particularly a friend or family member, having a birthday, this day in our nation's history is called Statehood Day.

It may seem far off, but we are already preparing for Indiana's Bicentennial in 2016. Earlier this year the Governor appointed Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and former Rep. Lee Hamilton to co-chair the planning of the statewide celebration. In addition, Noblesville High School graduate and resident Chris Jensen was selected as the Executive Director of the Bicentennial Commission. It will be fun watching as all the festivities unfold over the next four years.

For Statehood Day, the Statehouse will be hosting a variety of events to celebrate our state's founding. Beginning at 9am, there will be fun, interactive activities presented by the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor, the Legislature, Indiana Supreme Court, state museum, archives section of the state library, historical bureau, history center and other state agencies. Students will also have the opportunity to see original copies of Indiana's state constitution. Every year, this event brings Indiana history to life for our youngest Hoosiers as they study our state's government and heritage.

The afternoon is certainly a must-see attraction as well. There will be speeches from government officials, special music and the reading of the winning 4th grade essay titled, "What Indiana Means to Me." This part of the program has particular importance to our county as Grace Yang, from New Britton Elementary in Fishers, won second place! I encourage everyone to read her essay atwww.in.gov/idoa/ 2371.htm. It was truly an uplifting story to hear about her experiences and what Indiana meant to her having moved here from China at a young age. She did not know English when she moved here, but everyone made her feel welcome with their open hearts and open arms.

If you cannot make it to the Statehouse on Tuesday, consider going to the Indiana State Museum or the Indiana Historical Society. You can learn how states are created and the rich history Indiana has as a member of the Union. Each of these places will be hosting celebrations and activities the whole family can enjoy.

After Statehood Day, on Thursday, December 13, the Statehouse will put up a large Christmas tree in the rotunda. Students from all over the state send in ornaments to decorate the tree with this year's theme being "Hoosier Pride." All of the ornaments will depict Indiana's state symbols or emblems, such as the cardinal, tulip tree, peony, flag or seal.

The official tree trimming will take place at 11 a.m. where students will hang the ornaments that were mailed in. Holiday music will be played and First Lady Cheri Daniels will be there to help. This is really wonderful time as we celebrate our state's heritage and enjoy the holidays with friends and family.

I love this time of year with all of the holiday parties and kids programs. I am looking forward to touring the town and looking for the 12 Houses of Christmas that are included in the Noblesville Preservation Alliance's new Holiday Neighborhood Lights Tour. So, as you are running around doing all of your shopping in Noblesville take some side streets and enjoy the lights of the city! Enjoy!

State Representative Kathy Richardson (R-Noblesville)

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