Bicentennial Planning

May 23, 1975

Report Outline
Status of Plans for U.S. Birthday
Planning of Yesteryear and Today
Problems and Prospects for 1976
Special Focus

Status of Plans for U.S. Birthday

Exoected Upsurge in Tourism at Historic Places

In a variety of ways and in a variety of moods, the United States is making plans to celebrate its 200th birthday. Indeed, the official bicentennial period has already arrived. The first major observance occurred April 19 at Lexington and Concord, Mass., to commemorate the opening combat of the American Revolution. Other observances during this year and next embrace a host of events that are both related and unrelated to the central act that is being celebrated, the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

It is being said in many places that the country, suffering from economic ills, the loss of South Vietnam and a post-Watergate erosion of confidence in government, is in no mood to celebrate. And yet many of the thousands of events being planned across the nation are expected to draw record crowds, causing dire predictions of congestion and crushing tourism in and near historic sites during the summer months.

If America's feeling about the bicentennial has been ambivalent, the planning for the bicentennial has similarly lacked clear focus. It has long been characterized as fragmented, often confused, and at the national level has been tainted in the past by mismanagement and even hints of political favoritism. But after years of inaction and false starts, bicentennial planning is now going on almost feverishly in many of the cities, especially in the eastern United States where the biggest crowds are expected to descend.

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