Virginia Panel plans commemoration of 150th anniversary

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Virginia was central to the Civil War, and a state commission plans to make the commonwealth central to a multi-year commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States.

"It’s a commemoration, not a celebration," said Speaker of the House of Delegates William J. Howell Jr., R-Fredericksburg, who chairs the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.

The commission was set up two years ago to plan how the state’s role in the events of 1861-65, and those leading up to the war years, should be remembered across Virginia.

"Virginia played a central part" in a war that was significant to the entire country, Howell said on Tuesday.

The commission has plans to kick off its six-year retrospective a year from now, on April 29, 2009, with the first of seven free conferences on Civil War subjects.

"It’s an opportunity for both education and economic development," Howell said.

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