One day after Illinois officially began its bicentennial celebration, Rock Island joined in. Monday city and state officials raised the state's bicentennial flag outside city hall.
Speaking to a group of 5th graders from the Rock Island Math and Science Academy, Mayor Mike Thoms urged them to take pride in their home state.
"We need the youth, we need everybody in the state of Illinois to join together and continue to make this a great state."
Joining the mayor was State Representative Mike Halpin from Rock Island - he says despite its many problems, Illinois is still a great state.
"Illinois has faced difficult time in the past - war, depression, and racial and cultural tensions. But we continue to grow as a state and our challenges now, as in the past, can be overcome with time, hard work, and a commitment to a common purpose."
Similar flag raisings were held across the state Monday, including East Moline, following Sunday's official kickoff in Chicago at Navy Pier. December 3rd was the day Illinois became the 21st state 199 years ago.