Communities across the state raised a very special flag Monday. The Illinois Bicentennial flag raising happened at municipal and county buildings and complexes over the noon hour. It also served as the kick-off of the state’s yearlong bicentennial celebration at the local level.
The City of East Peoria hoisted its bicentennial flag on the center pole at city hall. Jill Petersen is the public affairs communicator for the City of East Peoria. She says it’s an opportunity for the Illinois residents to celebrate the people, places, and things that have helped sustained Illinois statehood over the last 200 years.
“We have done some very great things. We’ve produced four-American Presidents. Our typography is really awesome! It’s a really diverse great state and I don’t think sometimes people give it enough credit to say, ‘hey I live in Illinois! It’s a really cool place,’” Peterson said.
Washington and Peking are the other Tazewell County communities that participated in the loosely synchronized flag raising. The City of Peoria and Peoria County also did brief ceremonies.
Stacy Peterson handles public relations for the city of Peoria. She says this is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of the Illinois River Valley as it pertains to the history of the state.
“I think it’s easy for us to get bogged down in the day today. But when we can kind of take a moment, like we did today, and we realize we were joining people across the state to acknowledge the same thing, it’s really a special, special thing,” Peterson said.
The Bicentennial Commission is encouraging communities to post pictures from their flag raising ceremonies. The social media tag for the state’s Bicentennial celebration is #IllinoisProud. The website is www.Illinois200.com