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SANTA FE — Happy 98th birthday, New Mexico. You’re getting up there in years. What in the world are we going to do for your 100th? The answer is not much. We don’t celebrate such things as grandly anymore. It has become so complicated. We still feel pretty free about celebrating Christmas, New Years and athletic victories. But anniversaries of events are something else. It’s not that we don’t know how. New Mexico had a huge celebration in 1940 for the 400th anniversary of Coronado’s Expedition. It was truly statewide. And it happened despite a depression and an impending war. Our biggest celebration of all was the 1883 Tertio-Millennial Anniversary (very approximately) of European influence in New Mexico. The 45-day celebration attracted tens of thousands of visitors from throughout the nation. The Associated Press covered it daily for all its outlets nationally. How could such a huge celebration have been possible? The railroad had recently reached New Mexico and the business community wanted to take full advantage. The Santa Fe Railway was more than willing to help out with special excursion rates from major cities throughout the United States. So New Mexico knows how to party.
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