Lewis and Clark Kickoff Event at the Capitol - 01/07/03
HELENA –It’s a long way from Thomas Jefferson’s home in Monticello, Va., to Helena, but the two places will be linked together next Saturday (Jan. 18) as major events in both places will signal the official kickoff of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration.
“On January 18, 1803, Congress was asked confidentially for $2,500 to pay for President Jefferson’s dream of an expedition to locate the headwaters of the Missouri River and to seek a water route to the Pacific Ocean,” Montana Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission Executive Director Clint Blackwood said.
President George Bush is expected to attend the Monticello kickoff. Events in the Montana Capitol Rotunda in Helena begin at 9 a.m. with an honor guard composed of Lewis and Clark re-enactors posting the colors.
President Jefferson, in the person of historical re-enactor Bob Doerk, will emcee the Helena program. Doerk, who lives in Fort Benton, is the past president of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, and a Jefferson scholar.
More than 20 informational booths and displays will be set up in and around the rotunda including a replica dugout canoe as was used by the Corps of Discovery and new Lewis and Clark related artworks by Montana artists Bob Morgan and Louis Archambault.
Gov. Judy Martz, Brig. Gen. Randy Mosley, legislative leaders, and Tony Incashola of the Salish Cultural Committee will also participate in the Rotunda event.
Following the half-hour formal presentation, the exhibits will be open to the public until 1 p.m. and historical re-enactors will be available to meet with the public and talk in historical period terms about the Corps of Discovery.
This is the beginning of a three-and-a-half-year national commemoration that will involve 19 Lewis and Clark Trail states from coast to coast, Blackwood said.
“We want people to know that the national Bicentennial is officially commencing, and that events will be held in Montana throughout that time frame with Montana’s main focus being in 2005 and 2006 – the anniversary dates of the expedition’s time in what is now Montana,” he said.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for people to come and learn more about this exciting historic expedition that is so much a part of Montana history. They spent more time exploring in what is now Montana than any other state,” said Ann Tedesco, co-chairman with Dick Alberts of the event.
If people are interested in learning more about the major and local events that will be happening across Montana or in becoming involved in them, Blackwood said they can log on to www.montanalewisandclark.org or call 406-443-2109.
“We are still encouraging people to purchase Lewis and Clark Commemorative License Plates to show Montana pride in the bicentennial,” he said. “Proceeds from those sales also benefit events across the state.”
Co-sponsors of the event at the Capitol are the state commission, the Lewis and Clark Trail Bicentennial Commission of Lewis and Clark County, and the Gates, Crimson Bluffs and Reaching the Rockies Chapters of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation.