BOISE -- It was a major milestone for the Gem State on Monday, as it marked the 150th anniversary of Idaho becoming a territory. Hundreds gathered on the steps of the Statehouse to commemorate Idaho's sesquicentennial.
"Exactly one and one-half centuries ago today Abraham Lincoln created Idaho territory," said former Idaho Attorney General David Leroy, who emceed the event.
Dignitaries, tribes people, children, and other Idahoans gathered to commemorate the anniversary.
After a soaring rendition of America the Beautiful by Sen. Cherie Buckner-Webb, Leroy talked about how President Lincoln used Idaho to shape the future of the entire country. "Lincoln the master strategist used Idaho territory to block the expansion of slavery into the West. Lincoln the strategist used the gold and silver mineral wealth of Idaho to pay the soldiers, buy the guns, and win the Civil War."
In fact, Lincoln was a major focus of the day. Lincoln portrayer Steve Holgate addressed the crowd. "Idaho, through the ambition and hard work of its people will enhance the wealth of our nation, even as it strengthens our freedom."
And, members of the Legislature announced the naming of the Lincoln Auditorium, a bill which passed the Idaho Senate just about an hour before the ceremony.
Leroy quoted the 16th President. "Lincoln said, 'There is both a power and magic in public opinion.' To that let us now appeal. To him, this citizens room is dedicated."
Then, Josiah Black Eagle Pinkham from the Nez Perce Nation gave a moving benediction encouraging Idahoans to remember their past, and use it to inspire them to a greater future. "So that our story, Idaho's story will continue to be one of survival."
And finally, students from Horizon Elementary School sung the ceremony to a finish.
Also, congratulatory letters were read from President Barack Obama and Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. The city of Boise is also celebrating their sesquicentennial this year.
In case you missed our live broadcast of today's "Idaho 150" event - we're giving you another chance to see it. The two-hour special will be rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. Tuesday on Idaho's Very Own 24/7.