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Pioneer Day is positive addition to bicentennial celebration

A man named R.G. Collingwood once penned these words: “History is for human self-knowledge … the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is.”

This English philosopher and historian thought we could best understand our very identity and nature by gazing back to our history to see what we have done, where we have come from.

That’s also, at least in part, the idea behind the celebration of Alabama’s – and Franklin County’s and Russellville’s – bicentennial celebration that’s now in progress.

The state’s bicentennial website, www.alabama200.org, explains it like this: “It is a moment to remember the people who made our state and to nurture the generations who will carry us forward. It is an opportunity to chart a vibrant, prosperous future for the state with history as our guide.”

For history to be our guide, we have to take time to examine it; soak it in; celebrate it; and apply it appropriately.

Franklin County has already taken numerous opportunities to do so, with historic marker unveilings, school projects and community events.

The next chance we will have to celebrate bicentennial festivities with our friends and neighbors will be at Pioneer Day, set for Saturday at Sloss Lake.

Some of the special displays at the event will include “pioneer” handicrafts like weaving, a spinning wheel, tatting, crocheting, knitting and broom making. Attendees and volunteers alike will enjoy the day in period appropriate clothing. Spectators can enjoy learning more about corn husk dolls, pottery, gun making, trapping and more from demonstrators. Historical games will be offered for children, and actors will portray pivotal characters in Franklin County’s history, bringing their stories to life.

It’s one thing to read about our past in a big, or even to look at pictures.

It’s quite another thing to see it with your own eyes, to reach out to touch it and experience it.

We want to commend all who have had a hand in making Pioneer Day a reality. We know countless hours of work go into lining up all the moving parts of an event like this, and our thanks goes to those who have dedicated themselves to preserving and sharing the history of our county.

To everyone on the Bicentennial Committee, as well as all the demonstrators and other volunteers, please know that your efforts are appreciated.

We hope everyone will make it a point to come out Saturday and support this very special event.

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