The Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice will host a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Homestead Act of 1862.
The observance will begin at 6 p.m. at the Homestead Heritage Center on Sunday, May 20.
This landmark legislation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln exactly 150 years earlier on May 20, 1862 in an effort to open up the interior of the country to small farmers.
The legislation forever changed the land, people, industry and agriculture of the United States.
In recognition of the changes this legislation had on the nation and the world, Homestead National Monument of America will begin wtih a processional of 30 state flags, representing the states that were homesteaded.
Each flag will be carried by a descendant of a homesteader from that specific state.
Following the processional, a special group of national speakers that will reflect on the impact and legacy of homesteading.
Shortly after the guest speakers, the U.S. Air Force Band, also known as the Brass in Blue, will perform a concert from 8–9 p.m. This show will include pioneer and patriotic songs.
A one-of-a-kind laser light show will conclude the ceremony from 9:15-9:45 p.m., telling the 150-year history of homesteading in a visually stunning light routine specially created for this anniversary.
In addition, the original Homestead Act of 1862 signed by Abraham Lincoln will be on display. There will be concessions, open hiking trails, a real homesteader’s cabin to explore and more, organizers say.
Parking for the general public will be at the Gage County Fairgrounds with free shuttle service to the event. Handicapped parking will be available at the Heritage Center parking lot at Homestead National Monument of America.
Information is posted on Twitter (Homestead NM) and Facebook (Homestead National Monument of America).
Homestead National Monument of America is a unit of the National Park Service, located four miles west of Beatrice.
Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free of charge.
For additional information, please call 402-223-3514 or visit http://www.nps.gov/home/index.htm.