The last 17 days of the third full year commemorating the Oregon Civil War Sesquicentennial are chock full of special programs  dealing with the events, soldiers and personalities of the War between the States. This is in keeping with commemorations taking place during the first part of March 2014 in the city of Portland and throughout the state of Oregon.

The Beaverton Historical Society presented on Tuesday, March 11 a timely program on "The Civil War- This Country's Most Devastating War"  by NW Civil War reenactor Mike Tamerius.

The Sesquicentennial Commission's color guard with their Civil War era  flags and guidons extended their educational outreach at the St Paddy's Day Parade held on Sunday, March 16. This was the 24th anniversary of the popular parade started by Steve Slavik, whose two mile route wound through Portland's historic Ulysses S. Grant Park neighborhood. The marchers were given a place of honor behind the River City Pipe Band and the Irish Wolfhound Society and preceded the Grand Marshall's car. The dark and threatening clouds of the morning gave way during the middle of the parade to rays of brilliant sunshine that illuminated the Kelly green hat, vests and raincoats worn by the participants and the onlookers who filled the sidewalks. It was heartening ton hear the onlookers cheer us on as they learned about the heroic exploits of the Irish Brigades who defended the Union, and of the Irish heritage (maternal side) of Ulysses S. Grant who received his commission as Lt.General of the Union forces 150 years ago on the 10th of March.Video of the parade is available at http://youtu.be/phYFG8HYo28

The second half of the month was devoted to admiration and increased respect for Portland's Regional Arts and Culture Council for their professional handling of the necessary repairs this all too-overlooked agency made on the bronze Lincoln Statue first installed in 1928 that is located in downtown Portland.  The featured sculpture of  the city's "Lincoln Square" in the north end of the South Park Blocks was rocking on its base, and was temporarily placed in a harness and carefully laid down on the pavers block of the square while new bolts  were prepared to refasten it to the base. Great work, RACC, we support all of your endeavors to keep Portland's heritage art maintained!

On the 28th of March, commissioners from the Oregon Civil War 150th held a productive roundtable discussion of the Academy Award winning movie "Twelve Years a Slave" on Friday, March 28, 2014 after the Hollywood Senior Center's first screening of director Steve McQueen's film version. The discussion covered  the history behind the making of the movie, as well as the heretofore unmentioned story of what happened to Solomon Northrup, his wife, Anne, and children... years after the movie's family reunion. The eventual fates awaiting Solomon's masters (he had several during his 12 years of captivity) were also be covered as well as Solomon's brief entry into the world of theater.It is significant that  Oregon became the final resting place for a number of free blacks, escaped African American slaves like Sarah Wisdom, and slaves who successfully fought for their freedom and the freedom of their children.

Finally, the last Sunday of March will see a repeat of our popular "Sunday in the Park with Lincoln:, where volunteers from the Oregon Civil War Sesquicentennial give a short  informational talk about the historical significance of George Fite Waters "The President" to all visitors to the bronze  statue of Abraham Lincoln in downtown Portland. This will mark the second time in March that this new outreach program has been held, now that spring has arrived in Portland, and it is to be hoped that the almost-April showers will taper off every Sunday afternoon until April 15, the 149th Anniversary of the death of our 16th President at the hands of the assassin Booth.

More information on the programs in early April 2014,  leading up to the start of the fourth and final year of the 150th Anniversary observance will be posted in another blog.