Opinion: Celebrating Centennial Spirit

Commentary by Terry Anker

At the turn of the 20th century, our own Hoosier state could claim one of its own as the sitting U.S. vice president. Interestingly, Charles Fairbanks could walk only two blocks to visit his friend, former President Benjamin Harrison. The streets of our state’s capitol were crowded with almost 160,000 citizens with new building projects already underway, inviting many more to join. Civic leaders had made impressive steps in the few decades since the war. And their aspirations for what Indiana could become were unbounded.

With the celebration of our 200th birthday now behind us, Indiana is once again in a forward-looking posture. Hoosiers are notable in Washington. We have sent another son to serve as vice president, and with him have gone many Indiana men and women.

So, come now the Sagamore Institute, our home-grown international think tank, to host Centennial Spirit.  On Saturday, August 12, on the grounds of the Levy Mansion on North Meridian Street, as Dr. John Wernert, its vice president points out, “re-enactors and professional historians will discuss the importance of this era of Indiana citizenship.”  They will contemplate how political leaders like Harrison and Fairbanks, noted authors like James Whitcomb Riley and Gen. Lew Wallace, and innovators like Col. Eli Lilly and the Ball brothers thrived at this juncture in our history. Moreover, current Gov. Eric Holcomb will host the inaugural pinning of members of the “Society of Sagamores,” recognizing living recipients of our state’s high civilian honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash.  I urge anyone interested in the event to join the fun – especially Sagamore recipients.  Check out indianacitizen.com for info.

Kudos to the Sagamore Institute for bringing together Hoosiers, especially now.  It has been my privilege to attend the two previous conferences and expect this to be the best yet.