Monday, November 7, 2011

2012 the 150th Anniversary of Homestead Act

Dear Friends:

Next year we will be commemorating a story we know very well, a story that covers 270 million acres, is tied to 93 million Americans, spanned 123 years and is directly tied to the development of the largest agriculture superpower in the history of the World!

In 2012 our Nation will observe the 150th Anniversary -- in what has been said is one of the most significant laws ever created in the history of the United States -- The Homestead Act of 1862! We are contacting you to ensure you are aware of this anniversary and to seek your consideration in joining us in commemorating this epic event in American History!

While communities and organizations throughout our Nation are preparing for this anniversary it is important for us to remember that Homestead National Monument of America, Southeast Nebraska and our community will be at the center of this anniversary.

Already a number of activities and special projects are under way including:

• A major national symposium will be conducted with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; this event will take place in Lincoln and at the monument.

• Main Street Beatrice will be decorated with commemorative banners and planning special exhibitions.

• Special quilt programs will be presented.

• 44-1 kids will be engaged,

• A special national exhibit on exploration will be brought to the monument.

• The Nebraska Humanities Council will be bringing to the community their 2012 Chautauqua Event.

The Historic Homestead Act of 1862 Document signed by President Abraham Lincoln will be traveling to Homestead from the National Archives in Washington. D.C.; this document is considered, like the U.S. Constitution or Bill of Rights, to be one of our Nation's 100 most important documents.

• Plans are also under way for a major event at the monument on Sunday, May 20, the day on which the law was signed by President Lincoln.

Further activities include working closely with the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce during this historic year to make the 2012 annual Homestead Days event extra special.

We hope you, your business or organization will consider joining in this historic event! Ideas on how you can join in the fun include:

• If your business or organization is planning on giving away promotional items in 2012, consider highlighting the Homestead Act's 150 th Anniversary.

• If you are planning on participating in the annual Homestead Days Parade, start thinking now about your entry. If you plan on tossing promotional items to the crowd, we hope you might consider highlighting our community's tie to homesteading.

• You might consider special displays, window decorations or promotions.

• Your group or organization might want to feature presentations or programs looking closer at the Homestead Act and its effect on our community or Nation.

• You might wish to sponsor one of many special programs coming to the community or monument.

• And we are sure you have great ideas that are not even listed here.

Fifty years ago our community threw a party for the Homestead Act's Centennial that included a variety of activities: a Proclamation signed by President John F. Kennedy, three parades, a Miss Nebraska Pageant, retail promotions, a new postal stamp was issued, along with many other community programs. In doing this the community gained pride while having a great time.

We hope you will consider joining us for afro, filled sesquicentennial! Should you wish to discuss any ideas and would like to call on us for assistance, the Friends of Homestead, along with the staff at Homestead National Monument of America, stand ready to assist you. You can reach me at 402-223-7217, or call the monument at 402-223-3514.

Diane Vicars
Friends of Homestead

P.S. You can pick up your commemorative poster at the monument starting October 1, 2011.

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