Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I stayed home today in order to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President Of The United States Of America. In addition to being an Abraham Lincoln buff, I also love U.S. Presidential history in general. I could not pass up the opportunity to watch today's history in the making. I'm happy I did, because I got to learn something about Lincoln in the process.
I posted a couple of weeks ago how President Obama and company were going to be presented a menu of dishes that Lincoln loved at today's Inaugural Luncheon in Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol. During the opening of the luncheon today, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), the chairperson of the Inaugural Committee, directed attention to the painting of California's Yosemite Valley hanging behind the head table. The painting was created by Thomas Hill, one of the most famous landscape painters of the American West. It's on loan from the New York Historical Society.
So how does this relate to Lincoln? Well, President Lincoln in 1864 signed a land grant which permitted California to establish the Yosemite Valley as a state park. It then became a National Park in 1890. Through foresight and leadership, Lincoln thus enabled millions of people to appreciate the sheer beauty and breathtaking vistas of Yosemite.
Senator Feinstein related today to the luncheon crowd that today's featured menu was by far the most visited page on the official Inaugural website. I can attest to that based on recent hits on this blog. The daily traffic has doubled in the past few weeks, mostly due to people searching for Lincoln's favorite foods or for today's menu. I think it's wonderful that people are willing to learn more about Mr. Lincoln as a person, instead of as the myth he has become to so many. It helps us humanize Lincoln and to gain further understanding of our nation's greatest president.