Local history: Remembering Chattanooga's celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial

U.S. Bicentennial flag. / Getty Images/iStock/Therion256

Independence Day. The Fourth of July. Just mentioning these two synonymous terms sends most citizens off to check their supply of patriotic banners or to view "Yankee Doodle Dandy," arguably James Cagney's most iconic role. Those who enjoy history often reflect on the American Revolution, Gen. George Washington's leadership of the Continental Line and the final victory at Yorktown. As we think ahead four years to the U.S. Semiquincentennial, our nation's 250th birthday celebration, some of us also remember the U.S. Bicentennial celebrations just 46 short years ago.

Chattanooga's celebration of the Bicentennial was an epic undertaking. In 1973, Mayor Robert Kirk Walker appointed H. Clay Evans Johnson to chair what would become a 50-member Chattanooga American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. In making the announcement, Mayor Walker highlighted Johnson's civic leadership and noted that the commemoration was "of great interest to us as Americans, as Tennesseans and as Chattanoogans ...