Hundreds flock to Jefferson City for Missouri’s Bicentennial celebration

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A day full of events took place in Jefferson City on Tuesday as elected officials and Missourians from across the state gathered at the capital to celebrate the Show-Me state’s 200th birthday.

The formal ceremony recognizing Missouri’s Bicentennial kicked off at 9 a.m. on the south lawn of the capitol building with a musical performance by the Missouri National Guard 135th Army Band. Missouri officially joined the union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821. 

The ceremony heard remarks from Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin, executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri Gary Kremer, Peter Pastre, vice president of government relations and public policy for the United States Postal Service and Gov. Mike Parson.

An opening prayer was given by Rev. Monsignor Robert A. Kurwicki, Vicar General Diocese of Jefferson City and was followed by a singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” by the Missouri Choral Directors Association’s All-State Festival Choir. 

In Tergin’s opening remarks, she recognized the hard work of the Bicentennial Commission for putting the celebration together and expressed her excitement for the days’ events.

“We have several commission members here and they have been doing a lot of work for the past few years actually preparing for this day,” Tergin said. “When it’s your 200th birthday you’re going to celebrate and enjoy it and that’s what we’re going to do today. We have a fun-filled day of activities and we are going to kick it off.”

The official dedication of Missouri’s new forever stamp featuring the well-known Bollinger Mill State Historic Site was one of the main attractions during the opening ceremony. Pastre delivered its introductory remarks before unveiling the new forever stamp alongside Gov. Parson and the rest of the speakers.

“The Postal Service’s commemorative stamp program honors the best of America’s heritage, heroes and history,” Pastre said. “It reflects the diverse people and experiences that have shaped our nation, and this is certainly true with our Missouri Statehood Forever Stamp celebrating the Bicentennial of the Show-Me State.”

Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court Paul C. Wilson also spoke at the ceremony. He delivered a few personal anecdotes of what Missouri means to him and then discussed the historical significance of the state and its path forward.

“When you look around this crowd today and you think of the six million Missourians that we all represent and the millions that came before us, understand that not only did it take each and every one of us to bring Missouri where it is today, but it will take all of us to move Missouri into the future,” Wilson said. “Our future.”

Gov. Parson delivered concluding remarks to wrap up the ceremony and asked everyone in attendance to think about how far Missourians have come as citizens, and how far Missouri has come as a state.

“I encourage all of you to take a little time today to think about your own family,” Parson said. “Think about where you came from, your family history, your family tree and find out what you overcame as Missourians and why we’re so privileged to be Missourians.”

After the opening ceremony, a naturalization ceremony took place in the first floor rotunda of the capitol building where 33 applicants from 19 countries took the oath of U.S. citizenship. 

Other events also took place throughout the day such as tours of the Missouri Supreme Court, an ice cream social at Jefferson City’s famous Central Dairy, several displays throughout the capitol building commemorating Missouri’s 200-year history and even a collection of items for a time capsule that is set to be opened again on August 10, 2046.

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