Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Johnson County holds Illinois Bicentennial flag raising ceremony

By Lindsey Rae Vaughn

The Illinois Bicentennial Flag Raising Ceremony took place on the courthouse lawn in Vienna on Monday, Dec. 4.

The Vienna High School band played while county officials, students and community members gathered to the ceremony.

County commissioner chairman Ernie Henshaw welcomed everyone and commented on the great turnout.

He emphasized how special the day was, kicking off the one year celebration of the 200th birthday of Illinois.

Jim Jones, chaplain and spokesperson for the Beggs-Gurley VFW Post No. 5222, spoke about the American flag and its importance.

“I ask you to always respect and defend the flag,” Jones said.

Boy Scout Troop No. 41 performed the flag dedication.

In the middle stands the tallest flagpole with the American flag. On both sides are brand new flag poles, one bearing the Illinois state flag and the other the Illinois Bicentennial flag.

Members from the Beggs-Gurley VFW Post No. 5222 performed a 21 gun salute and taps.

Sydney Shelton from Goreville High School sang the National Anthem.

Ed Annable spoke about the history of Johnson County.

Him and his wife Diane wrote a book called, “Six Years in the Illinois Territory, 1812-1818 When Johnson County Spanned River to Rover.” The book celebrates the Bicentennial of the state.

“This will be an event you remember,” Annable said about the ceremony.

He gave a brief history of Johnson County, going over how many county seats it had and what Vienna looked like when Illinois became a state.

Judge James Williamson read the proclamation of the Bicentennial, but not before telling those in attendance about how he felt about the American flag.

“I get an adrenaline boost when I see the flag,” he said.

The Vienna High School band performed a patriotic song and then the Goreville Jr. High Choir sang the state song.

Henshaw closed the ceremony by thanking everyone who was a part of the ceremony and those who attended.