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Lawrence County To Begin Celebration Of 200th Birthday
Updated October 4, 2017 6:48 AM | Filed under: Event
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(BEDFORD) - Jan. 9, 2018, will mark the beginning of a year-long celebration to commemorate Lawrence County's 200th birthday.

The Lawrence County Commissioners, Gene McCracken, Rodney Fish and Dustin Gabhart will be joined by former Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman and city of Bedford Director of Business and Community Development Director Marla Jones when the official Lawrence County Bicentennial flag is raised at the courthouse. The bicentennial flag is gold and features the navy blue and gold Lawrence County Bicentennial logo.

"The entire year will be filled with activities celebrating Lawrence County's rich history," McCracken said.

A signature event of the Lawrence County Bicentennial celebration will be the Bicentennial Torch Relay. The Lawrence County Bicentennial Commission is accepting Lawrence County Bicentennial Torch Relay torchbearer nominations.

"A primary goal of the year-long celebration is to engage all Lawrence countians and celebrate every community. The Bicentennial Torch Relay will bring together all of our communities as one," Skillman said.

Jones added, "We encourage Lawrence countians of all ages to participate in this unique, year-long celebration. We will honor Lawrence County's rich history -- celebrating its people, places and culture -- while charting a course for a brighter future."

Sunday, Oct. 1 marked the 236th anniversary of the birth of American Naval Capt. James Lawrence. Lawrence is best known for his last words, or "dying command," "Don't give up the ship!" -- still a popular naval battle cry -- and inspired Oliver Hazard Perry's personal battle flag, adopted to commemorate his dead friend.

The Lawrence County Bicentennial Torch Relay will be patterned after the Olympic Torch Relay and Indiana Department of Tourism's Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay. The Bicentennial torch will pass through all nine Lawrence County townships, and the route will be designed to unite Lawrence County citizens and communities during the bicentennial celebration year.

The Lawrence County Running Club is working with Lawrence County Tourism, the Bicentennial Commission and law enforcement officials to finalize the route. The relay will showcase locations of natural beauty, local interest and historic significance in the county.

Torchbearer nominations will recognize Lawrence countians who have demonstrated exceptional public service, excellence in their professions, acts of heroism or volunteer service to their neighborhoods, communities, region or state. The Lawrence County Bicentennial Relay will take place next fall; however, the deadline to submit nominations is Jan. 31.

Torchbearer nominations forms are available at five locations: Lawrence County Auditors Office, Lawrence County Tourism Officer, Bedford City Hall, Mitchell City Hall, Oolitic Town hall. Turn in forms at those locations, send them via email to or by mail to Lawrence County Bicentennial Facebook page.

Once all nomination forms are collected, a juried nomination process will be employed to select torchbearers. A torchbearer nomination committee has been formed to manage this process. Nominees must be current or former residents of Lawrence County or be nominated in honor of a current or former resident. Individuals may be nominated posthumously and the name of a substitute torchbearer may be submitted to carry the torch or behalf of the nominee.

Nominees must be at least 10 years of age, and torchbearers younger than 18 will need to meet other youth torchbearer requirements. A nominee must possess the physical adaptive ability to carry the torch a minimum of a quarter-mile. Accommodations will be made for those torchbearers with disabilities.

For more information, contact the Lawrence County Bicentennial Commission at

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