Wheeling has a central place in the history of our great state. It was here that, during the early years of the Civil War, representatives of Virginia's western counties agreed they wanted no part of secession from the United States. It was here that careful plans were laid to address longstanding differences with the state government in Richmond.
And it was here, on June 20, 1863, that West Virginia was born.
For those reasons and others, our city will be an integral part of the state's observance of the Civil War sesquicentennial.
But many communities and regions in our state have excellent claims on funding for sesquicentennial observances. West Virginia is rich in Civil War heritage, after all. Our state was home to Confederate sympathizers as well as Union loyalists. Several regions were battlegrounds during the war.
Local leaders decided a few years ago that Wheeling would not be merely another site for sesquicentennial activities. The decision was made that we would be a leader now, as we were a century and a half ago.
Painstaking preparations were based on thoughtful, creative planning. A special committee, the ON TRAC group, was formed under the leadership of Chairman Eugene Fahey, who is vice mayor of Wheeling.
This West Virginia Day weekend, it all came together. Events began on Friday and will continue through today, West Virginia Day.
As Fahey explained, the idea was to mix education with entertainment. That seems to have succeeded very well, drawing some people to attend educational events they otherwise might have passed up had the entertainment component not been present.
We believe the ON TRAC group and all others involved in planning sesquicentennial events have done an excellent job. Once again, Wheeling is showing others in our state how it's done.
Both the importance of the sesquicentennial and the expectation events here would be of high quality drew several sponsors for the weekend activities at West Virginia Independence Hall and the Heritage Port.
The Intelligencer and our sister newspaper, the Wheeling News-Register, are proud to have helped sponsor the observances. Our participation is appropriate, of course, because The Intelligencer was a leader in the statehood movement 150 years ago.
Wheeling has proven it has not just an important place but also a leadership position in the state's sesquicentennial observance. We can't wait to see what else local organizers have in mind for the next few years.