WHEELING, W.VA. – It all started in Wheeling 150 years ago. So it’s appropriate Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, as well as the members of the House and Senate, kicked off the state’s Sesquicentennial celebration at Independence Hall in the “Friendly City.”
Travis Henline, the site manager for West Virginia Independence Hall, said June 20th is a doubly important day for the state.
“On June 20, 1861, the delegates in the convention here signed the Declaration of Rights. This is considered our Declaration of Independence for West Virginia,” explained Henline. “And, of course, June 20, 1863 is our birthday.”
With the state legislature in interim sessions this week at Independence Hall, Henline said Wednesday was the perfect time and place to reenact the events of June 20.
“We’re going to recreate an historic scene in our courtroom,” according to Henline. “Part of that will be to deliver the June 20 speeches of both Governor Francis Pierpont, who would leave and go to Alexandria, Va, after June 20, 1863 to continue to govern Virginia as the loyal Union governor. And then we will have the inaugural speech of our first West Virginia Governor Arthur Boreman.”
On Thursday, the official birthday of West Virginia, Henline said Independence Hall will host a lot of activities.
“We are going to try and do things, as much as possible, as it happened. In 1863, there was a 35-member choir that began the ceremony singing the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’ We’re going to do that,” said Henline. “We’re going to have a noon bell ringing. The churches here in Wheeling will ring their bells. We’re going to have a 35-gun salute by the soldiers as happened in 1863.”
And what would a birthday celebration be without a cake. Henline said they’ll be serving up the sweet treat for those who come out and enjoy the festivities.
Henline believes June 20, 2013 won’t be forgotten.
“We’re about to make some history!”
Henline was a guest Wednesday on MetroNews Talkline that originated life from Independence Hall.