Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy 203rd birthday, President Lincoln

During the Civil War Sesquicentennial years, you won't find me blogging about Abraham Lincoln as much. I'm not a student of military history and many others scholars and bloggers who are much more knowledgeable are writing about this aspect of Lincoln's life. My area of interest and knowledge is Lincoln's early years, his time in Illinois, and Lincoln in literature.

So, currently, I'm devoting much of my writing time to my blog, "Musings on Route 66." When those musings bring me back to Lincoln, I'll post them here, as well. Today is one of those days. As I celebrate Lincoln's birthday in Springfield with many others who share my passion, may you take time to remember him too.

The following post is from "Musings on Route 66," where I also share musings on other things that interest or tug at me.

Since I was a small child, I’ve been smitten with Abraham Lincoln.

Why? A combination of things, probably – things like parents who told me stories of the 16th President and took me to visit Lincoln sites, books that kept Lincoln lore alive, school trips, and living in Illinois, where his aura is so strong. Chances are many of you came to admire him by similar paths.

But I like to think there was one more force even stronger in my Lincoln journey. I was born in a hospital about a block from Old Main at Knox College where a Lincoln-Douglas debate was held in 1858. I have my suspicions that almost 100 years later, there was a bit of “Lincoln dust” still in the air and it blew in the nursery window, landed on my shoulder and left me intrigued with the railsplitter for life.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Because of this love for Lincoln, or what many call my “obsession,” I started a blog, Lincoln Buff 2, during the Lincoln Bicentennial year.

In celebration of Lincoln’s 203rd birthday, I dug back into the archives for the blog post I wrote just after midnight on Lincoln’s 200th birthday. I spent that week in Springfield and savored all the excitement. Come along. Relive the adventure with me.

From Feb. 12, 2009: "Happy 200th birthday, President Lincoln!

"Here in the Land of Lincoln, the clock just struck midnight. The big day we've looked forward to and planned for is here. It's time to wish Abraham Lincoln a happy 200th birthday.

“As I type this, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is hosting an all-night vigil for Lincoln. In conjunction with the vigil, original copies of the Gettysburg Address, Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment are on display.

“Until after 11 p.m., the line to view the documents wound through the lobby, down the hall, into an exhibit holding area and around the museum plaza. It reminded me of a visitation I once attended for a well-loved school teacher who died much too young. As in that case, the people coming today were there to pay their respects to someone whose life made a difference.”

Feb. 12, 2012: Those same three documents are on display again this year, and the 13th amendment is all spruced up, just waiting for your visit.

The celebrations may not be as elaborate and as many this year as during the bicentennial year, but chances are that wherever you are, there are Lincoln birthday events nearby. A great place to keep up with Lincoln happenings year-round is the Abraham Lincoln Online website.

And don’t forget to watch The State Journal-Register’s Abraham Lincoln Observer blog where Mike Kienzler spreads the word about the latest, greatest and sometimes even not-so-great goings-on in the Lincoln world.

Again today, I’ll use the words I used in 2009. I mean them as much now as I did when I wrote them three years ago:

“Please join in a celebration of Lincoln's big day. If you can't, at least take a few minutes to stop and reflect on how the life of one individual can change the course of history. Lincoln mattered then and he still matters today. Remember the life he lived and emulate the values he espoused – hard work, honesty and lifelong learning.”

© Ann Tracy Mueller 2012

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