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‘Where do you want to be in 2016?’

‘Where do you want to be in 2016?’
‘Where do you want to be in 2016?’
First Lady Judy O'Bannon applauds the work of sculptor Larry Beisler at Saturday morning's unveiling of Corydon's new limestone monument at the Blaine Wiseman Visitor Center. Beisler carved the monument, which depicts two historical figures, the Constitution Elm and the First State Capitol on a three-ton block of limestone. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

Saturday in Corydon was not a day to rest on one’s laurels, no matter how well the Corydon Millennium Committee has, with multiple projects, marked the flavor of the community for ages to come.
Before unveiling the handsome limestone sculpture commissioned by the committee, Indiana First Lady Judy O’Bannon all but issued a directive — practically a state mandate — to the citizens of Harrison County:
Get ready for the next big celebration, the year Indiana turns 200.
“Where do you want to be in 2016?” she asked, in her down-to-earth, challenging style. “You have 15 years to do a whole heap of something together; I don’t much care what you do, just so you do it together.”
She urged that 2016 include new residents and old, and those of different races who have made Harrison County a part of their lives. “We will be the richer if we are all there,” she said.
O’Bannon added: “The real long-term strength in a community is what it does with its people, working and planning together.
“You have the responsibility, but, oh, my, along with that comes a whole lot of opportunity and a whole lot of hope,” O’Bannon said.
“Heat, time, age made that the solid rock that is Harrison County,” O’Bannon said, emphasizing that she and others throughout the county have spent many hours “grubbing” that rock in gardens that she and her husband, Gov. Frank L. O’Bannon, have tended in their Corydon home and their cabin west of town.
“Well, folks, you are the limestone of tomorrow … the foundation that your kids and your grandkids are going to walk on,” she said, reminding the attentive crowd of more than 100 to “stay firm, stay structured.”
In return for her sage advice, the Corydon Millennium Committee offered O’Bannon an “opportunity” as well.
“I think we all know who the chairman of that 2016 committee will be, because she will be retired and back in our community,” said Cathy Buschemeyer, a member of the Corydon Millennium Committee and sculpture subcommittee.
“I’ll just go ahead and make it official today,” she added, to laughter and applause.
Earlier, O’Bannon praised the tangible results of efforts to honor the new Millennium in Harrison County: The pictorial history book, “A Place to Belong, Images of Corydon, Indiana, 1850-1975”; the Millennium paperweights created by Zimmerman Art Glass of Corydon; the design and production of the official Corydon flag, and the limestone sculpture by Larry Beisler of Elizabeth, unveiled Saturday.
Buschemeyer is a descendant of the young pioneer girl, Jennie Smith, who is depicted on the stone alongside Territorial Gov. William Henry Harrison. Buschemeyer read the story which led to the picture carved in stone. Later, the story will be inscribed in stone and placed on each side of the sculpture, which sits on the north side of the Blaine H. Wiseman Visitor Center on Elm Street.
As the tale goes, in the early 1800s, the territorial governor would ride horseback through the valley, admiring the serenity of the hills and streams. He frequently stopped at the cabin of Edward Smith, along the cool spring at the site of today’s fairgrounds. He particularly enjoyed the vocal rendition of “Pastoral Elegy” sung by Smith’s young daughter, Jennie, which told the mournful tale of a mythical shepherd boy named Corydon. In turn, Harrison, who later became the ninth president, named the fledgling town Corydon.
A picture of Buschemeyer’s great-grandmother, Ida Cecelia Hurst, served as the inspiration for Beisler’s depiction of Jennie. The scene includes the Constitution Elm in the center, with Jennie and the family’s cabin on the left and Harrison and the state capitol on the right.
Cameras clicked throughout the crowd as Buschemeyer and O’Bannon unveiled the stone sculpture to applause.
The limestone block, quarried in Bloomington, weighed 3,300 pounds before Beisler chipped away some 300 to 400 pounds. The work took a year.