On April 18, 1818 the U.S. Congress issued a proclamation authorizing the people of the Illinois Territory to draft a constitution for admission into the Union and to establish Kaskaskia as their capital. The constitution was adopted Aug. 26, 1818 and statehood was granted on Dec. 3, 1818.
On Aug. 26, 2018, the Liberty Bell of the West Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution hosted a ceremony at the Randolph County Courthouse to commemorate the upcoming 200th birthday of the state of Illinois. Members of the Illinois State Organization NSDAR were also on hand to help celebrate the occasion.
The event featured the unveiling of a French Granite Marble monument, which is located between the Randolph County Courthouse and the Randolph County Museum on a grassy area between the two landmarks. The project to erect this monument has been approved by the Historian General National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
The Illinois State Organization National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) has a membership of more than 7,600 with 104 chapters. The Randolph County chapter is named "Liberty Bell of the West."
The Randolph County chapter organized the dedication ceremony which took place Sunday August 26, which coincides with the date that the Constitution of the State of Illinois was adopted on August 26, 1818.
Approximately 100 people joined the Liberty Bell of the West Chapter DAR for the occasion. Steve Colonel, Chester School District 139 music director, played recorded music to start the celebration and the Processional of Dignitaries.
Lori Hill, Chapter Regent, provided the welcome, after which an invocation was given by DAR State Chaplin B.A. Church. The National Anthem was sung by the Chester High School Swing Choir "Sound Affect."
State Regent Gloria Flathom then provided greetings to the gathering after which Joan Montroy, chairman of the Bicentennial Monument committee, provided a rich and very informative "History of the Monument,"
Keynote Speaker Marc Kiehna, of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners, further expounded on issues related to the monument dedication after which Joan Montroy, Chapter Chaplin, gave a "Dedicatory Prayer."
The official unveiling of the monument was conducted by David Holder, Randolph County Board of Commissioners and Shannon Wolff, Randolph County Sheriff, with Lori Hill, Chapter Regent, narrating.
Ron White, Randolph County Board of Commissioners, conducted the actual "Acceptance of the Monument" on behalf of the citizens of Randolph County.
To bring the ceremony to an official conclusion, Juanita Broyles, District VII Chaplin, provided a "Benediction" after which Steve Colonel led the group in the singing of the official song of the State of Illinois, "Illinois".
The French Marines, de Fort de Chartres, led by Commander Don Martin, provided a Musket Drill Salute to close the event. After the Retirement of the Colors and Recessional, members of the DAR met for a group photo in front of the monument.
The official birthday of the state of Illinois will take place Dec. 3 with more events taking place at time.