Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy birthday #202, President Lincoln!

Here in Illinois, where we grow up living and breathing the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, the prairie lad who made it from a log cabin to the White House, it's not hard to forget what February 12th is, even though someone, sometime, somewhere created some joint birthday celebration and called it President's Day.

Yep, you can't even walk or drive past a vehicle in the Prairie State without being reminded it's the Land of Lincoln. And, that's okay with me. I can be assured that, thanks to my license plate, no matter where I travel on this nation's highways, I'm evangelizing for my pal, Lincoln.

Lincoln lives
Today, folks, Lincoln turns 202. I know, I know, as my coworker friends and old school chums, who constantly rib me, would remind me, "No, Ann, he's not 202. He's dead, remember?"

And, you know what I've got to say about that? John Wilkes Booth may have snuffed the life out of his body, but no one will ever kill his spirit, quelch the "right to rise"* which he so strongly represents. In 1950s, when I first discovered Lincoln, the 1970s when I introduced him to my own daughter, the 1990s, when I shared his story with my first grandson, or the 21st century when we celebrated the bicentennial of his birth and began using all kinds of new technology and mediums to share his story, we can still learn from Lincoln, we can still be inspired by his story.

Take time for Lincoln
Dear reader, today please take a minute to learn something new about Lincoln yourself. Find a Lincoln story you didn't know, discover a Lincoln letter or speech, learn a lesson from the life he lived. Then, when you do, tell someone. Teach a child of 4 or a grandparent of 94.

Find the Lincoln site nearest you and take your friends and family along to visit. Drop in at a senior center or a nursing home and let someone with Lincoln-like wit and wisdom tell you what they remember learning about our 16th President, how he inspired them.

Watch a documentary, read a book, pen your own tribute to Lincoln. But don't let this day pass by without stopping to reflect on how different this country, this state, perhaps even our lives would have been if this man had never lived or risen to a stature not unlike many of his statues - larger than life.

Join us in Springfield
As for me, you'll find me in the same place I was last year and the year before and a Lincoln's birthday when I was a child and Illinois kids still got his birthday as a day out of school - in Springfield. There's tons to do down there all day today, much of it free of cost. If you're in the neighborhood, check out this blog post by my Lincoln blogger colleague, Chris Umhoefer, on his Heart of Lincoln Land blog. I'll be at events at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Lincoln's Home and more. Hope to see you there!

Follow me on Twitter
I'm also on Twitter as LincolnBuff2. Though my tweets since the bicentennial have become much more eclectic, reflecting many of my interests - books, museums, National Parks, aviation, social media, and my favorite authors, such as Richard Bach and Richard Paul Evans, I still remember Old Abe from time to time.

Today, as I attend events in Springfield, I'll try to tweet when I can. I don't have a snazzy new 3G or 4G phone yet, so my Twitter application is a bit clunky and uncooperative at times. I'll tweet some, though. Please, don't hesitate to tweet a link to this article or retweet my Lincoln's birthday tweets.

Happy Lincoln Day, blogosphere! Ann

* "Right to rise" is a term made famous by Lincoln scholar, Gabor Boritt, a Hungarian refugee, whose own story of rising above adversity is told in a marvelous documentary, Budapest to Gettysburg, directed by his son Jake Boritt.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Honor Lincoln and help break world record

Hey, friends.

Our buddy Abraham Lincoln's birthday isn't until Saturday, but tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 11, 2011 at 11 a.m., Central Time, you can join in and give him a gargantuan birthday gift. As part of the kickoff of the Civil War Sequicentenial and on the 150th anniversary of the day Lincoln said farewell to Springfield, you can help break a world record.

At the Great Western Depot, known as the Lincoln Depot, and at sites all around the nation, people will gather for a simultaneous reading of Lincoln's Farewell Address. This speech is still one of the ones that always moves me the most. I can't read it or hear it without getting tears in my eyes.

You can learn all about the celebration, rules and more at the special website dedicated to the event. And, be sure you watch the video, where my friend, Lincoln, (Fritz Klein on other days) delivers his very powerful performance of the speech.