Opinion: Happy birthday, Indiana

Every 200 years or so, we ought to have a party. And since we’ve waited so long, let’s make it a big one. Many of us Hoosiers remember from our Indiana history class that our fine state officially joined these United States December 11, 1816, to be exact. The order was signed by President James Madison. Over these 20 decades that mark Indiana as a defined political geography, we have often taken note of the significant passing of time, the accomplishments of those who came before us, and the gentle landscape with which we find ourselves presented.

During the celebrations commemorating our centennial year, we recognized our famous citizens and contributors. We built monuments to our contributions to the preservation of the Union. We created our first community foundation. We founded our system of state parks. We paraded while brass bands played.

Today, yet another century has come and gone. Since the land upon which we now reside has been home to countless humans for 10,000 years, we might wonder if a couple of hundred years warrants much of a to-do. Yet given the fleeting days of short human lives, shouldn’t we pause occasionally to recognize our contributions, however fleeting?

Officially, the lead party planner is the Indiana Bicentennial Commission (in.gov/ibc). These good people have put together all kinds of important facts, places to visit and things to do in honor of the anniversary. Check out the website if you are inclined. But if your busy calendar allows for only one birthday party for Indiana, consider joining me for a leg of the statewide Bicentennial Torchbearer Relay to be held at Conner Prairie in the late afternoon October 13 – then stick around for the popular Headless Horseman tradition at the interactive history park!