BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Who better than America’s favorite historians, the cast of the musical Hamilton, to officially began the statewide Illinois Bicentennial Celebration?
Governor Bruce Rauner welcomed the rollicking cast, who unveiled the commemorative flag from the stage of Chicago’s CIBC theater at a special performance for 100 Illinois high school and college students, whose videos were chosen as part of the 100-day countdown to begin the Bicentennial.
Alexander Gemignani, whose condescending flamboyance as King George III brings audiences to its feet, declared:
“Today marks the birthday and kick off to the Illinois Bicentennial. We are honored to reveal to you the new bicentennial flag and celebrate 200 years of history with the Governor and all the people of Illinois. We are all Illinoisans today!”
Gemignani gave a special shout out to the audience for their winning videos highlighting the people, places, and things that make Illinois’s history a source of great pride. Governor Rauner responded: “Let the Bicentennial begin!”
The 100-Day Countdown was sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, headed by its president and CEO, Dave Casper. The bank celebrated its 200th birthday in 2017.
Chicago Alderman and Bicentennial Commissioner, Ed Burke, later led the raising of the new flag at McCormick Place and read a proclamation by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Illinois became a state on December 3, 2018, and the year will be filled with statewide celebrations on August 26, Constitution Day. The grand birthday celebration will be at the United Center on December 3.
Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum recently previewed their Bicentennial exhibit From Illinois to the White House: Lincoln, Grant, Reagan, Obama. Statewide programs for grades K-12 include a new curriculum called Illinois Chronicles. There’s even an official Bicentennial craft beer created by Petersburg’s Hand of Fate brewer Mike Allison, labeled 1818.
For further information visit illinois200.com.
Photo credit: Amy Boyle Photography