Celebrating 200 Years of Statehood
On Aug. 10, we marked the state’s 200th anniversary of statehood. It was on that day all the way back in 1821, that Missouri formally became the 24th state to enter the Union. And what a 200 years it has been. This past week of bicentennial celebrations reminds us of where we’ve been as a state and provides us with clues of where we’re heading.
Missouri has long been home to explorers and adventurers. For instance, the famed Lewis and Clark Expeditions embarked on their Corps of Discovery from Missouri, with our waterways playing a significant role in the expedition’s navigation. This past week, on Monday, Aug. 9, I was honored to speak at the dedication ceremony for the Bicentennial Bridge, which when completed, will restore our capital city’s historic connection with the mighty Missouri River and allow visitors from all over to explore Adrian’s Island. This has been a project long in the making, and I believe it’s a great way for our city to celebrate the legacy of our waterways during our state’s bicentennial.
After the explorers came the settlers. Many of Missouri’s early residents were farmers in search of fertile land and helped build the communities many of us call home today. We’ve continued that rich tradition of agriculture in our state, where today it’s our state’s No. 1 industry. For many of the early settlers, Missouri was seen as a land of promise. I still believe in that land of promise, and will do everything I can to ensure agriculture remains strong in this state for generations to come.
Over the past two centuries, we’ve seen the state grow from its humble beginnings with a population of around 70,000 residents in 1821 to more than 6 million people today. Though the number of Missourians has certainly changed over the years, one thing has not: our values. At the end of the day, Missourians are good, hardworking people who try to make the best of this life and improve things for the next generation. When tragedy strikes, Missourians are there to help one another and lend a hand. We’ve seen that time and time again – whether it’s a pandemic, flooding, tornadoes or anything else. We’ve seen our share of challenges over the past two centuries, but we’ve always endured. No matter how much the world around us changes, I hope the values that bind us as Missourians remain the same.
It was an honor to be able to celebrate our state’s bicentennial with Missourians from around the state, especially those from here in Mid-Missouri.
So, Happy Birthday, Missouri. May God continue to bless you and your people for centuries to come.
As always, it is an honor to serve the 6th Senatorial District. If my office can be service to you, please feel free to contact us at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at senate.mo.gov/Bernskoetter.