Lincoln Discussion Symposium
What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - Printable Version

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What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - maharba - 02-08-2016 08:13 AM

In old buildings, behind walls, various junk sales, it always surprises me that a man can still find the old Lincoln collections folks had. And more sophisticated, technological folk do razz me here for my old tyme habits. Looking through old scrapbooks, letters, old Civil War rosters, magazine clippings. But you get a flavor for what Lincoln Day used to mean --the touching recitations by schoolchildren of speeches, original poems, and yes even PRAYERS offered to the future of America. The old newspaper clippings tell me of a time when Lincoln Breakfasts were held and folks actually sang hymns and prayed.
As 'Presidents Day Holiday' is soon to arrive, public schools will merely blank out a convenient day from the calendar. But what will YOU do for Lincoln Day, and your community will they remember?

RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - Thomas Kearney - 02-08-2016 02:33 PM

This tweet says it all!

RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - LincolnMan - 02-08-2016 04:42 PM

I am getting my taxes done. But like others on this forum- my passion is Lincoln!

RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - RJNorton - 02-08-2016 05:03 PM

(02-08-2016 04:42 PM)LincolnMan Wrote:  I am getting my taxes done. But like others on this forum- my passion is Lincoln!

I second Bill.

As far as I know the nearest Lincoln Day Dinner is 125+ miles away from us.

RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - maharba - 02-08-2016 09:41 PM

What about something so simple as planting a tree, flower, bush in commemoration. I like Kentucky Coffee Tree, which many people confuse with a black locust. A female will bear those short flat pods, some folks find objectionable. A male tree will only have the pretty white flowers in June and no pods to fall. I have seen these trees I know are a hundred years old, and they're not that thick. They leaf out 'late', only bloom in the late years ' when they feel like it'. Cold resistant and not much liable to drop big limbs even in the strongest winds. Or...when lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed? I like the old fashioned kind and they seem to go well for about 40 years, maybe longer.

RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - Gene C - 02-09-2016 08:08 AM

A good idea, I like that.
It may have to warm up a bit here though.

RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - Rob Wick - 02-09-2016 03:09 PM

I have to say I'm not as sentimental on the idea of Lincoln Day speeches as some may be. Ida Tarbell gave her share of addresses and was interviewed nearly every year on what Lincoln would think of current events--a topic she found distasteful and refused to answer, at least in the way people wanted. An example of this would be a letter to R.A. Hipplehauser of the Associated Press in which Tarbell answered the question in the way she believed it should be.

While doing research several years ago, I came across a reel of microfilm that contained several different Lincoln Day speeches given at various times around the country (sadly, I didn't keep the bibliographical information, as I think that would make an interesting topic for a paper). Most of them were hagiographical in nature and told very little that a person would find of historical value. Most of them were of the nature "Lincoln was great. He loved his wife, his children, his dog, his country and all mankind." While not necessarily and totally injurious to a real understanding of Lincoln, they were generally trite and full of misinformation that has since seeped into the public mind. Those speeches remind me of the speech that Ronald Reagan gave in 1992 when he gave several bogus lines supposedly uttered by Lincoln but in reality written by the Rev. William John Henry Boetcker, who, according to the New York Times, was "a minister from Erie, Pa., who was born in 1873 and ordained in Brooklyn and who became a lecturer and pamphleteer. Mr. Boetcker first printed his 10 maxims in 1916 in a leaflet entitled "Lincoln on Private Property." Originally, one side of the leaflet contained some words by Lincoln; the other side had maxims by Mr. Boetcker. It was republished in 1917, 1938 and 1945 by the Inside Publishing Company, which Mr. Boetcker apparently controlled."

I obviously don't think honoring Lincoln on his birthday is a bad thing and I really dislike the vanilla-tinged nonsense that is President's Day, but I think many of those speeches given in the past did far more harm to Lincoln's memory than forgetting about him ever would.


RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - maharba - 02-09-2016 07:13 PM

Interesting, Rob, and you've certainly examined many aspects of Lincoln history. A forum like this is a daunting assembly of Lincoln fans and specialists. When I broach a topic (Lincoln Day) which may seem simplistic, I think of including all the past and future students of history. The intellectual contribution at the child's level is important and should be reinvigorated, I still think. And that should be in the schools and churches. An essay contest used to be a familiar part of Lincoln Day. Whether child or adult, it is always stirring to read another generation heard from. With the internet, even a reasonably diligent grade-school student might quickly filter out some of the past exaggerations about Lincoln which used to be quite common, in an essay. New and original poems, like artwork, are always amusing and welcome and especially from the minds of a fresh generation, breathing new life into long ago events.

RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - Gene C - 02-09-2016 08:01 PM

(02-09-2016 03:09 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  "Lincoln was great. He loved his wife, his children, his dog, his country and all mankind."

Well Droopy, it's nice to see we rank just behind the wife and kids,
as it should be. Heart


RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - Rob Wick - 02-09-2016 08:32 PM

Quote:Well Droopy, it's nice to see we rank just behind the wife and kids,
as it should be. Heart

Well, Fido, I think we should have been listed first, but you know how human-centric these people are. Heck, I only get two meals a day and the bald, fat guy eats at least three times, not counting between-meal snacks!


RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - Jim Garrett - 02-10-2016 09:41 PM

For Lincoln's birthday, I will be having lunch with Tom Fink (Junius Brutus Booth Society) at Weiss Deli on Lombard St. in Baltimore and feasting on a Pastrami-Swiss-mustard on both sides!

Weiss is the best deli in Baltimore. check it out on tripadvisor.

RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - maharba - 02-11-2016 10:41 AM

The EverythingLincoln dot com site has an interesting article on President's Day and Lincoln. It explains what President's Day is and what it is not.

RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - ReignetteC - 02-11-2016 02:43 PM

I will be spending the day with my 86-year-old "angel mother."

RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - Eva Elisabeth - 02-11-2016 05:22 PM

"We here today, all the American people and millions of freedom-loving men and women throughout the world are honoring that great man, Abraham Lincoln...But this man does not belong to you alone, my friends. He belongs to all of us, above all to our young people..."

The thoughts on the Lincoln Day speeches reminded me of the following one, and you may judge yourselves on its quality and value. In 1959, (when Mayor of West Berlin) our former German chancellor Willy Brandt was invited to give the key commemoration speech at the sesquicentennial banquet of the A. Lincoln Society in Springfield.

Willy Brandt was a very popular and charismatic chancellor and politician. You may remember his gesture of humility and penance towards the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising:

He also was a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln and used to have a Lincoln statue in his office.
In his address, he focused on the House Divided speech and related it to the situation and developments in both parts of Germany then. It's IMO a powerful speech, showing that and how Lincoln still mattered, and probably will continue to do, in our post-WWII times.

Here it goes:

"Ladies and Gentlemen:
We have come together here in Springfield to pay homage to a great political leader of your country. I have gladly come the long way from Berlin to Springfield, because I consider it a high honor that I may have a part in these ceremonies and that I may speak to you.

My fellow-Berliners are filled with the same sense of gratitude; and I bring to all of you and to your many guests their heartfelt greetings. I wishto say to you here in Springfield, as well as to all the people of America, how greatly indebted we are to you. I have just passed several pleasant and encouraging days; and they have strengthened my conviction that Berlin can rely on its friends and that we shall march forward shoulder to shoulder, permitting nothing to come between us. The history of nations, particularly the nations of Europe, has passed on to posterity in ample measure the deeds of those personalities whose fame rests on the external employment of power. Yet, it may be rightly said that a greater historical force has emanated from those men and women who have helped their country and their people to attain inner greatness and strength and who thus became the embodiment of ideas which have influenced many countries and many generations.

In my city of Berlin, during those most difficult years after the war, we had such a personality at our head, a man whose life and work was permeated with the knowledge that spiritual forces and moral values are stronger than the exigencies of the moment. I am thinking of Ernst Reuter, who showed us Berliners not only the way of resistance to tyranny but also the way of close cooperation with our American friends.

We here today, all the American people and millions of freedom-loving men and women throughout the world are honoring that great man, Abraham Lincoln, who in martyrdom has gone down in history as the uniter of his people. But this man does not belong to you alone, my friends. He belongs to all of us, above all to our young people, and he lives in the hearts of mankind everywhere. In Abraham Lincoln intellectual force was matched with moral strength. He understood the spirit as well as the needs of his time; and he was possessed of that pragmatic way of thinking which is conducive to successful action and which always stands the test if it is anchored in firm convictions. When I say that Lincoln belongs to all of us, I am naturally thinking - as the spokesmen of Germany’s capital - of his connections with Germany and of the help which he received, before and after his election to the presidency, from men of German origin. I need only mention such names as Carl Schurz, Gustav Koerner, and Franz Lieber.

As a man who has emerged from the labor movement, I wish to point out, secondly, that it was Abraham Lincoln who called the free laborer a bulwark of democracy, and that he considered those particularly worthy to be trusted who toil up from poverty. This spirit of impartiality and of faith in equal opportunity was also understood on the other side of the ocean. A police conference in Berlin in June 1865, however, regarded it as improper that the General Association of German workers - a predecessor of my own party - expressed its sympathy on the occasion of Lincoln’s death in addresses to the American Government.

Third, and foremost, however, I am thinking of the character of that man, who, with so much warmth and understanding, stood at the side of those people then struggling for their freedom. Let us remember his words about the electric cord that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty loving men together throughout the world. Perhaps we should also remember that Lincoln was one of those men who here in Springfield, more than one hundred years ago, put it on paper that Russian action with regard to the Hungarian freedom-fighters of those days was an 'illegal and unwarrantable interference.' In other words, Lincoln and his friends avowed their solidarity with all those people in the world who fought for freedom, for human rights and for the right to self-reliance. Important periods of American policy have since borne the mark of this principle. The world would look bad indeed had not the American people and their government been permeated by this basic attitude, especially during recent decades.

Ladies and gentleman, you will not expect me to give you an interpretation of your great president in terms of domestic American affairs. Yet even an outsider may venture the guess that those who stood 'on the other side of the barricade' during the Civil War would also agree today without hesitation that the United States could not have become a haven of freedom and the leading world power had the unity of the nation been shattered. Abraham Lincoln spoke of the duty of the whole people to never entrust to any hands but their own . . . the preservation . . . of their own liberties, a duty which, after biter experience, the great majority of the German people also acknowledge. He spoke of the eternal struggle between democracy and tyranny. We know that this struggle has torn apart the European continent and that it has assumed worldwide dimensions. He quoted the passage from the Bible about the house divided against itself, and expressed his conviction that this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. The truths which Lincoln spoke here in Springfield in June, 1858, are perhaps even more applicable to the present situation of the German people than to the one which he faced: that is, to the arbitrary disruption of their lives, for which, of course, they are not without Guilford themselves. I can only tell you that the Germans in the East and in the West have not accepted this situation and that they will not accept conditions under which a son is separated from his mother, a brother from his brother.

I can only ask you all to imagine what it means when each and every day for ten years and more hundreds of Germans become refugees in their own country, because they can no longer endure the tyrannical pressure put upon them in the part of Germany ruled by the Soviets. I must make you aware of the danger resulting from this arbitrary division. It is a threat to peace in Europe and to peace in the world. Therefore, the German question, the desire of the Germans for the reestablishment of their national unity, has greater significance than merely a legitimate national interest. In fact, it is rather the accepted common interest of everyone who wants a peaceful order in Europe and in the world. Of course, I know that the German question today, in many respects, is interwoven with the overall problems of common security and East-West relations. I am, therefore, aware of the fact that neither an isolated nor a sudden solution is possible and that we must hope for gradual changes, for step-by-step solultions as the result of persistent negotiation. In this sense, I am for flexibility and opposed to our becoming imprisoned in the framework of outdated formulas. But I say with Abraham Lincoln that important principles may and must be inflexible. For the days ahead, firmness, unity and patience are as important for the West as the willingness to examine changing conditions and to accommodate ourselves to them whenever possible.

This also applies to Berlin, which has once more become the target of Soviet probing and blackmail and which in the months to come will yet be the subject of much agitation, for the climax of the Soviet-provoked crisis has not yet been reached. But in the weeks past we have won two peaceful victories. The Berliners themselves repulsed that attack against their social order and their economic reconstructions. On December 7, 93 percent of them hastened to the ballot boxes and all save a bare 2 percent case their votes against the Soviet threats. And the United States together with their allies have told the Soviets: Hands off Berlin! They have made it clear to Moscow that they will not renounce their rights and obligations even under the pressure of an ultimatum. Today the Soviets realize the serious risk of unilateral action. If it becomes necessary, it must also be made clear to them that the same risk is involved as far as the hindrance of impairment of access to Berlin is concerned, for without free access, the agreements on Berlin would become a mere farce.

We see time and again that forgery is turned into political practice. Lincoln said that there is much talk about freedom but that the concept of freedom is often filled with very different substances. Lincoln’s remark has even greater relevance today. This also applies to the Berlin case. Talk goes on about creating a 'free city of West-Berlin.' But what the Soviet announcements proclaim in this context means anything but freedom for the citizens involved. No, Berlin is to be 'free' from the Americans and the other Western powers, it is to be 'free' from its economic and legal relationship with the German West, 'free' from freedom. Let me answer in Lincoln’s words, namely, that you can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Those who talk about a 'demilitarized' city and who accuse the West of wanting to prolong artificially the occupation status of Soviet divisions encircling the city and to absorb what is left into that part of Germany ruled by the Communists. For us, the powers embarrassing to the interests of the population. We regard them as protecting powers and as our friends.

What has been rebuilt in Berlin, the transformation of a vast desert of ruins into a place of flourishing eco- nomic and intellectual life is to a great extent the common achievement of the Berliners and their American friends. We all still vividly remember the magnificent performance of the airlift by the Americans and their British allies. When in May we will solemnly celebrate the tenth anniversary of the lifting of the Berlin blockade, it will be a great pleasure for us to welcome in our midst a number of those men who at that time shifted the points the right way. Now again, it is essential that the points remain properly set, that is, that together we persevere in our stand for right and freedom. This does not mean that we should not negotiate - on the contrary. It also does not mean that counter-proposals cannot be offered with regard to the Berlin situation - within the framework of more far-reaching negotiations, particularly with regard to improved transit between Berlin and West-Germany. But we ought to understand that the East wants nothing but a unilateral change in circumstance to their own advantage and to the disadvantage of the West. This is unacceptable because of the people living in Berlin; it is also impossible because a capitulation in the Berlin question would have far-reaching, devastating consequences, and because a new and permanent settlement cannot be built upon the breach of justice and treaty law. This can and will not come to pass. You can rely on the people of Berlin. We know how important it is to preserve peace, but we do not want to lose freedom. If freedom is at stake, we will bend our knee to nobody.

Since shortly after the end of the Berlin blockade the Freedom Bell has hung in the town hall of West-Berlin. It came to us from your country with parchment scrolls bearing the signatures of fifteen million American men and women. Each day at 12 noon we listen to the sound of this bell, which reminds us of what we have to preserve and what we yet have to achieve. The Freedom Bell also reminds us of the immortal work of Abraham Lincoln. It reminds us in particular of the address he delivered at the national cemetery in Gettysburg - that great prose work in which, referring to the honored dead, he declared that the living should dedicate themselves to the task for which they gave the highest sacrifice so that this sacrifice shall not have been in vain. Engraved on our Freedom Bell are these noble words from the Gettysburg Address: 'That this world,' Lincoln said 'nation,' but today he, too, would include the whole world, 'under God shall have a new birth of freedom."

RE: What Will You Do For Lincoln's Day ? - RJNorton - 02-11-2016 05:33 PM

Thank you so much for posting this speech, Eva. It is full of powerful insights, observations, etc. I was in high school when Willy Brandt made his visit to Springfield, and I think I was largely oblivious to his presence in Illinois at that time. I really enjoyed reading this speech! I love it where Willy Brandt says, "When I say that Lincoln belongs to all of us,..." I had no idea Willy Brandt kept a Lincoln bust in his office.