Monday, February 12, 2024

RE: Abraham Lincoln

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Undoubtedly, Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest U.S. Presidents of all time.

Today is his birthday.

However, his birthday is celebrated by only a few in our nation.

If he were president today, how would  he address the burning issues of our day?"

Be informed, not misled.

How Lincoln Lost His Birthday

There were efforts right after Lincoln’s death to get this birthday---February 12--- recognized as a holiday, but there has never been a federal Lincoln birthday holiday.

Currently, the Lincoln holiday is celebrated unofficially nationwide as part of what many states call Presidents’ Day, which falls on the third Monday of February. Just a few states celebrate the actual Lincoln birthday on its date. Technically, the federal Presidents’ Day commemorates George Washington’s observed birthday: There is no national holiday called Presidents’ Day---although we use the term.

The third Monday in February is the date designated for the federal Washington’s Birthday holiday under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971.

So on February 12, Lincoln’s real birthday, his life and work go pretty much unnoticed, with a few exceptions: There are a few celebrations on a state level, along with a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. There is also a wreath ceremony at Lincoln’s birthplace in Kentucky.

By 1890, Lincoln’s birthday was observed as a paid holiday in 10 states. According to one blog that tracks the holiday, in 1940, 24 states and the District of Columbia observed Lincoln’s Birthday.

Now, after the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed in 1971 and states moved toward considering the federal Washington birthday holiday as Presidents’ Day, just a handful of states honor Lincoln directly. The states currently having Lincoln-birthday holidays on February 12 include Illinois (Lincoln’s adopted home state), California, Connecticut, Missouri, and New York.

There have been several attempts in Congress to get Lincoln his own national holiday, but none have succeeded. Now, more states celebrate Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) than Lincoln’s birthday. In fact, as of 2019, 18 states, not including Indiana, have days off for state employees for Black Friday. Another 10 states give their employees the day off for Good Friday, and five states recognize December 26 as a holiday.

Although it may seem odd that Indiana and New Mexico honor Lincoln on the day after Thanksgiving, President Lincoln issued the proclamation in 1863 that officially set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving.

Lincoln's story. 

It's true that his is the story of a little boy who grew up in poverty and rural isolation—without education, who lost his mother at age 9, and who almost died several times—and yet who became the most admired and revered of Americans.

Historians and the general public regularly rank Abraham Lincoln as America’s greatest president. There is little doubt that he is widely admired for his work to end slavery and preserve the Union.

But beyond these two important points, most Americans know little else about Lincoln’s life.

A poll by "Participant" found that two-thirds of Americans admitted to knowing “little to nothing” about him. Eighty-three percent of respondents thought that the Emancipation Proclamation freed all the slaves in the United States. (It only freed the slaves in areas under Confederate control.) Another 40% believed that Lincoln was a Democrat. (Google only confuses matters when it lists his party affiliation as “National Union Party,” which was a temporary rebranding of the Republican Party during the 1864 presidential election.) In fact, Lincoln was the first Republican to be elected president.

Lincoln was, perhaps, the most successful President that the United States of America ever had. He saved the United States, helped to abolish slavery, and spoke some of the most memorable words in U.S. history, including the Gettysburg Address. Survey after survey on presidents put him at the very top or near the top.

 I’d call that success. But history shows that he also had his share of failures. 

Consider the following:

  • He was defeated for Illinois state legislator in 1832.
  • He started a business only to see it go under. It was a store in New Salem, Illinois. His partner died, and he could not sustain the business. He eventually paid off all of the business’s debts.
  • He lost his run for Congress in 1843 and again in 1848.
  • He lost his bid to become a U.S. Senator in 1855.
  • He ran for Vice President of the U.S. in 1856 and lost.
  • He again ran for the U.S. Senate in 1859 and lost yet again.

Lincoln once said: “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”

He also said: “That some achieve great success is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”

Lincoln once said: “It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.”

The lesson here: "Aim high and persevere. Despite his failures, he pressed on and had numerous successes. He had a successful law practice. He got a patent for a device for 'buoying vessels over shoals.' He was honored in 1992 by the Wrestling Hall of Fame because he only lost one of his 300 matches. And, as everyone knows, he ran successfully for President in 1860 and again in 1864. While in office, he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation and kept the union together."


In defining America, he defined himself in Gettysburg on November 19th, 1863.

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 battlefield 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 cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot 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.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Engaged. Be Bold. Be Prayerful.