Fourth of July Reflection: “This is Ohio’s Time”
Posted July 4, 2023

By Doug Preisse and Michael B. Coleman, Co-Chairs of the America 250-Ohio Commission

Bright white, blue and red fireworks in a dark night sky

The July 4th holiday conjures up images of fireworks and backyard barbecues. It should also remind us of our nation’s history, the Declaration of Independence and our commitment to uphold this experiment in American democracy.

Although Ohio was not one of the original 13 British colonies, the Buckeye state is in many respects an American original. The next three states to join the Union after the colonies – Vermont, Kentucky and Tennessee – were all carved from original colonies. Ohio, the country’s 17th state, sprang first among the young nation’s Northwest Territory and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Ohio became a state in 1803.

We’re moving quickly toward the nation’s 250th anniversary, which culminates on July 4, 2026. Ohio has a special place in our nation’s history, and this is a great time to remind our fellow Americans – and ourselves – how Ohio and Ohioans have helped shape both our nation’s history and its future. We want America 250-Ohio to be loud, colorful, bold, accessible, and inclusive. Alongside our national partners, we are working to make this celebration the most inclusive in our nation’s history. That means engaging with all 88 Ohio counties and Ohioans from all walks of life.

Governor DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly formed the Ohio Commission for the U.S. Semiquincentennial, also known as America 250-Ohio. We have the honor to serve as co-chairs for the Commission and there is much work to do to prepare Ohio to make the most of this momentous opportunity. Every state is forming a commission like ours and we hope this anniversary can be a way to bring Americans and Ohioans together to share ideas and to highlight why – as Governor DeWine has said repeatedly – “This is Ohio’s time.”

It is important that all 88 Ohio counties are engaged in activities that showcase Ohio communities in distinct ways. This is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. One recent Commission accomplishment can be seen on U.S. Route 250 about midway between Ashland and Wooster in Wayne County. Borrowing on the legacy of the Ohio Bicentennial Commission 20 years ago, Scott Hagan, “The Barn Artist,” recently completed a barn painting that features the America 250-Ohio logo on a landscape of the scenic U.S Route 250. Route 250 stretches across nine Ohio counties from Sandusky on Lake Erie to the Ohio River, before connecting into West Virginia at Wheeling.

The America 250-Ohio Commission is working with educators, historic sites and museums, tourism and arts organizations, local governments, Ohio-based businesses and many other state and local leaders to shape Ohio’s participation in the nation’s 250th anniversary. The lead-up to the nation’s 250th anniversary offers us an opportunity to bring the stories, big and small, from the past to life for 21st century families. We think you’ll agree that Ohio’s 88 counties are loaded with just the kind of powerful stories that help remind us that we all have the ability to contribute something much larger than ourselves. Whether as an individual Ohioan, or as part of an organization, you are invited to contribute to the effort. Join us!

Happy Independence Day!

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