Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois on June 4, 1973 · Page 13
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Galesburg Register-Mail from Galesburg, Illinois · Page 13

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Galesburg, Illinois
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Monday, June 4, 1973
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Page 13
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it? p A Bicentennial Bust? Spirit of 1976 Doesn 9 t Stir Americans Btf TOM TIfcDE WASfflNQWK CROSSING, N, J. (NBA) - When the United Slates celebrated its 100th birthday, in 1876, a Bos- tort newspaperman wrote: "the Centennial closed In Novembcf, not too soon for the many who had found much of it so faddish and tiresome that the word Centennial was repulsive. How had it stared at us from every oyster cellar, tripe stall, coffee booth, grand hotel haberdashery, candy shop and fish store ... oh give us a rest for a hundred years I" THE PEOPLE OF Washington Crossing never read that comment. But they might have. Hero it is, not 31 months before America is to commemorate its second hundred years, its Bicentennial, and the citizens of this historic spot couldn't care less. For many, it seems, the hundred years' rest hasn't been long enough. "Bicentennial?" says a man in the Tally, Ho bar, hard by the Dclawaro River. "What's that? Oh, yeah, I know. Baloney, that's what it is, baloney. Naw, I don't carp ll?s Ignored it's not the real thing, but-the annual re- nation's heritage which Americans are ignor- enactment at Washington Crossing, N. J., of j n g ( J^EA a local historical event is a reminder of the LOSE WEIGHT THIS WEEK The Ocjrlnex Plan can help you become the slim trim person that you would, like lo be, Odrinex has been used successfully' by thousands all over the country for 14 years. Get. rid of excess fat and Hyp longer, , Odrinex is a tiny tablet and easily swallowed.Contains no dangerous drugs. Mo starving. No special exercises. Odrinex Plan crisis $3.25 and the large economy size $5.25.' You must lose ugly fat or yotif money will be refunded. No/questions asked. Accept no substitutes. Sold with this guarantee by; anything about it. Oimmo another beer, huh." ^ The opinion, minus* barley breath, is echoed throughput this tiny settlement. An official in the township (Hopewell) municipal building says he hasn't "heard word one about 1976." A man driving, a road repair truck says he has "other things to worry about than that stuff." Several people queried, 'actually, respond that they do not even know what Bicentennial means. THE APATHY is both odd and at the same time understandable. Odd because of the kneo-jerk interest in history here (this is where, on Christmas night, •' 1776, George Washington led his military across the Delaware to fight the critical Battle of Trenton); understandable because O compfaln that all the money spent is in vain because "people won't have enough to go to see it." Still to this date the long planned; long troubled, long ignored U,S. Bicentennial commemoration has not caught a twit of the public fancy. Public fancy? The Bicentennial in some quarters is a public joke. Some citizens grump that the celebration should be moved up a year or two, "before the Indians take the country back," Others more wonder, morosely, what with the Watergate and corruption, "if there'll be a nation left by then to honor." THE CYNICISM should be expected. In the seven years since Congress first mandated the observation of the nation's 200th anniversary, not only has there been malfunctions in the nation but in the anniversary planning as well. Superpatriots first tried io capture planning power, then superppliticians (intercepted secret messages suggest the Republican admin istration once saw 1976 as an opportunity to strengthen the party). A world's fair was planned, and rejected, Readers ' of major participating cities argued ideas to death. Even now, most states have only rudimentary plans for the Bicentennial; Congress has rejected the top priority Bicentennial proposal (national parks In all 50 states); and politicos .are debating whether to change the 50> member federal planning board (The American Revolu»_ tional Bicentennial Commission) to one-man rule. • SMALfc WONDER the average citizen is yawning. In New Jersey, as example, the state has not even named its commemoration commission. Anybody interested in 1976 cannot find a Bicentennial number in the phone book. One guy connected with the hchhum task of organizing some action here says, "We" think we 're going to build a Liberty Park on the New Jersey side of the Statue of Liberty, but. . . " But, indeed. Time is funning out, Says one state newsman: "What I'm going to do in 1976 is take my kids to Union City and let them smell What has happened in two centuries." TO SOME EXTENT, of course, the official confusion and public inertia is a natural byproduct of an activity so immense and, until recently, so far away. Says an ARBC official, in Washington: "How can you get 210 million people interested, much less In agreement, on something like this?" You can't. Students for example, according to Chip Burlei of the College Press Service, "think the whole thing is ludicrous." Other segments of the society agree, Indians, because the land to be commemorated is land, stolen from them; Blacks because at the lime of the revolution many of their ancestors were slaves. Even entire states of people feel no overwhelming pride for the Bicentennial; Alaska, for example, was part of Russia in 1776. Yet beyond these examples of natural torpidity, there is also evidence that Bicentennial planners have not opened the doors to public interest. Except for some exceptional States (such as Massachusetts), many people are disinterested merely because they've not been asked to be interested. Too often the designated planners have held their own meetings and formulated their own ideas. Here at Washington Crossing, the township has pot even formulated their own ideas. Here at Washington Crossing, the township has not even formed a citizens Bicentennial committee; all work to commemorate the anniversary is being handled by state parks personnel and historical interest groups. THERE ARE SOME who .feel the absence of citizen participation in the anniversary planning is deliberate. The People's Bicentennial Commission, a counterculture gremlin group in Washington, feels the 1976 commemoration has "been taken over by bureaucrats, American Legion soldiers and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Gatesburg Register-Moil, Galesburg,, 111. Monday, J una 4, 1973 13 WATER WEIGHT PROBLEM? USE X-PEL him water in the body due to build up of premenstrual period can be ontorfif art- able, X-PEL... i mild diuretic, Will belt) you lose excess body water weight. Only $3.00.We recommend it. Thus the charge that "real people" have no say, no enthusiasm, nor no interest in the birthday blast. But whatever the reason, deliberate or not, the lack of grass roots support for the Bicentennial is presently serious. No doubt there will be a 1976 celebration, no doubt it will be big; but without the zeal of the people it won't be significant. As the guy in the Tally Ho bar puts it: "You know, a lot of money's being spent on that thing — I wonder who's getting it." 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