Friday, July 18, 2008

Illinois Lincoln Birthday Celebration Underwhelming

A couple of posts ago, I discussed the fact that the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in Illinois had its budget cut by the governor of that state due to financial problems in that state. Now this article discusses some of the ways the state of Illinois will celebrate the 200th birthday of its most famous son.

The Commission is going to have schoolchildren across Illinois simultaneously read The Gettysburg Address. Good idea, but hopefully teachers will take the time to explain the meaning of the address, the importance of it in American history, and emphasize the fact that it's one of the finest speeches ever written. Without context, the point of having kids read it aloud will be lost.

The next idea is to have churches across Illinois toll their bells on February 12, 2009. That could be moving and help people remember Lincoln. But when you think about it, this idea doesn't make a lot of sense. Lincoln never officially joined any church and he most likely was never baptized. He did attend services on occasion, but he was not a "Christian" in the traditional meaning of the word.

Finally, the Commission is going to ask businesses to put "Happy Birthday, Abe" on their signs, boards, marquees, etc. This strikes me as a little ridiculous.

Even with budgetary restrictions, surely the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in Illinois could come up with better ideas to celebrate and remember Lincoln. For example, it could pay for a re-enactment of the celebrations held in Springfield upon Lincoln's election to the presidency. A special book commemorating Lincoln could be written and sold through the state. It could organize a special "Lincoln Festival" in Springfield.

Anyway, this is only my opinion. I just think that the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln requires more dignified celebrations than asking businesses to display the words "Happy Birthday, Abe" out front.

3 comments:

Rebecca said...

I agree. I think that Lincoln deserves much better recognition and honor than that! Celebrating his 200th birthday could also be an occasion for events that would seek to increase tourism in some way.

Geoff Elliott said...

Thank you, Rebecca for your comment and for taking time to read my blog.

I've read your blog as well and find it informative and enjoyable.

Thanks!

Geoff

jackspar said...

No one can forget Lincoln service to our country. Thank you for honoring him in your article.

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jackspar.

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