In February we celebrate President’s Day, honoring the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. As it’s a federal holiday, most of us have always had the day off from school and work. In elementary school we learned about the presidents – as in, George Washington cannot tell a lie and Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin. And in high school our history lessons taught us additional information about the presidents. But, once you don’t have to think about it anymore, do you ever remember that Lincoln’s birthday is today, February 12, and Washington’s in February 22?
In fact, Abraham Lincoln was born 200 years ago today – February 12, 1809. Ceremonies across the country are honoring the Lincoln Bicentennial, and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site (of the National Park Service) has a weeklong Lincoln celebration. Since it is located in Springfield, Illinois, most of us probably will not make the trip today. However, you can take the virtual house tour and see the virtual exhibits of furniture, personal belongings, newspaper articles, historic photographs, Mary Todd and children, and learn about Lincoln as a lawyer. It is a wonderful, eye-appealing site and you can choose what you view. Visit Lincoln’s home today – it’s worth a few minutes of your time. And at the bottom of the website, you can click on links to other historic sites related to Abraham Lincoln.
Another site to visit is President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldier’s Home in Washington, D.C. where Abraham Lincoln resided during the Civil War. It is a National Trust property. As you may know, the National Trust recently completed a $15 million restoration project.
December 1, 1862: Closing Paragraph in Message to Congress
Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We – even we here – hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just – a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.
Happy Birthday, former President Lincoln.