As far as I know we do not celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on the exact day February 12 anymore. We celebrate President’s Day instead. No wonder some children have no idea which presidents we celebrate. I asked a 10 year old and he thought the days off are to celebrate all our presidents. Most schools close for a long weekend and of course we all look forward to the sales. But I wonder how many of us remember the date.
Well I want to celebrate Abe Lincoln and remind people of some facts (not alternative ones) and some of his thoughtful, eloquent oratory. Abraham was the 16th president of the United States. He was born in 1809 and died victim of an assassination on April 15, 1865. He was still in office when his assassin John Wilkes Booth shot him at the Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Lincoln was born in Kentucky and the son of Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. His mother died when he was just nine years old. He was self educated and loved to read. He ended up in the state of Illinois and became a lawyer and later ran as a Republican for a seat in the state senate and won at the age of twenty-five. He later became a congressman. He married Mary Todd and had four children.
We need to remember him for his Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863 ordering for the freeing of slaves. This set forth the 13th Amendment which would free all slaves in the United States a few years later. During the Civil War Mr. Lincoln held the country together.
He is remembered for one of the greatest speeches in American History, He gave the speech at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863. It’s called the Gettysburg Address.
My first memory of knowing about our 16th president was a poem my teacher read us. She told us about how honorable and honest he was growing up and throughout his life. Two pretty good traits for a president.
I recently visited a family member whose home was built in 1865 and I had a flash back to that moment in my childhood when my teacher emphasized the importance of honest. I looked around the house. It was built around the time we had lost a great and beloved president. He was just fifty-two years old.
Here are a few of the quotes I remember learning about in school and thank my teacher for teaching us that these were quotes to live by. I think we must remember their value.
“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”
“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”
“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”
The Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
November 19, 1863