Thursday, February 12, 2009
Happy Birthday, Abe
Before Barack Obama openly invited the Lincoln comparison, this would have already been The Year of Father Abraham. Today marks the two-hundredth anniversary of his birth in a settler's cabin on the frontier of Kentucky. A city which prides itself on being privy to a wealth of historic places devoted to the martyred President has kicked into high gear. One wonders, however, if these destinations and the media buzz surrounding the celebration will revive Lincoln's Birthday from its current place as an increasingly minor holiday. A few decades ago, most schools and some business were shuttered to observe it. Now only a handful of states observe the holiday. Over the past few decades, Lincoln's Birthday has been paired with Washington's Birthday into the catch-all holiday of Presidents Day.
Around DC, Ford's Theater, closed for over a year to perform renovations, re-opens for public tours. The Lincoln Summer Home has been available to view since early last year. Today a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial will included laying a wreath at the at the monument and will be punctuated by several speakers, scholars, and dignitaries. I do think, however, that any gains made by those currently promoting this remembrance will have to wait until the peak tourist season of next summer.
I have nothing much to add to all the adulation. My regard for Lincoln as a President and statesman has always been in high esteem. He has far more patience and forgiveness than I would have ever had for all of the high drama and interpersonal strain that existed in this country as a result of the Civil War. His was the steadiest hand at the tiller and also the coolest head. This two facts cannot be overemphasized enough.