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Eye On Boise

Mon., March 4, 2013, 12:08 p.m.

Ceremony kicks off celebration of Territorial Sesquicentennial, homage to Lincoln

Idaho Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb sings
Idaho Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb sings "America," as part of the state's celebration of its territorial sesquicentennial. Among those assembled are Gov. Butch Otter, at right, and at left, Abraham Lincoln portrayer Steve Holgate; further up the steps are the Horizon Explorers in Song, a group of more than 100 elementary school students who performed. (Betsy Russell)

Idaho has just wrapped up a sparkling kickoff to its Territorial Sesquicentennial celebration, complete with more than 100 youngsters in blue T-shirts singing and waving Idaho flags, stirring comments from a rather convincing Abraham Lincoln impersonator, native drumming, greetings from the president and mayor, a proclamation from the governor, reading of the legislative resolution enacted today to formally name the Abraham Lincoln Auditorium in the state Capitol, and more. Here, Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, D-Boise, a noted jazz singer, sings “America.” The entire Legislature was gathered on the Statehouse steps for the ceremony, along with statewide elected officials, tribal leaders and more; the weather cooperated with brisk temperatures but clear blue skies.

Master of Ceremonies David Leroy told the crowd of more than 300 that turned out for the event, “Among other things, Lincoln was a master strategist. Lincoln the master strategist used Idaho territory to block the expansion of slavery into the West.”

Lincoln portrayer Steve Holgate of Portland, Ore., who looks rather strikingly like the 16thpresident, talked of signing the resolution creating Idaho Territory on this morning 150 years ago, at dawn after an all-night session of the Congress. “America is not a nation on the edge of disintegration,” he declared, “but one being drawn ever more closely together.”

Gov. Butch Otter told the crowd, “Idaho’s people are no different today than they were in 1863. They had then and we have now an obligation to be the architects of our own destiny.”

Leroy said today’s event is just the kickoff of a series of statewide events to mark the territorial sesquicentennial. “There will be many activities throughout the state, in all corners of the state ... in the coming weeks and months,” he said.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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