Tag Archives: President’s Day

Salute to President Abraham Lincoln

I have posted the same humorous tale on several Presidents’ Day blogs. Today, I omit the dual focus of George Washington and salute President Abraham Lincoln.

I toured the 2009 Library of Congress Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition, With Malice Toward None, in Sacramento, California. My steps through multi-level floors of exhibits echoed like a true walk through history. The artifacts included Lincoln’s inaugural Bible, a lithograph of the Emancipation Proclamation, a scrapbook of the Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and Lincoln’s handwritten Farewell Address. As stated in the California Museum tour booklet, “By placing Lincoln’s words in a historical context . . . the exhibition provides a deeper understanding of how remarkable Lincoln’s decisions were for their time and why his words continue to resonate today.”

Mr. Lincoln would be rejected as a political party candidate today.  He would be considered undereducated (not enough diplomas on his attorney’s office wall) and not attractive enough for TV appearances. In his day, he seldom—if ever—appeared in public without his layers of formal attire of a waistcoat (vest) over a white shirt and black bowtie beneath a wool frock coat. He would not have stepped outside without his black silk top hat. I suspect his shoes were shined—maybe by his own hand—but surely not by an enslaved servant. Today he would be expected to ditch his favorite attire for something informal—perhaps coatless with rolled-up sleeves similar to the Rosie the Riveter poster during World War II.

Lincoln’s words were delivered with a sharp punch that bested his nineteenth-century adversaries. Now, following each speech, treasured statements of history would be ripped apart by news analysts trying to discover his true meaning. Others would second-guess his motives hidden in the sarcastic humor meant to disarm his opponent. A third team would be at work lining up prominent political endorsements in case Lincoln might be the first choice of the Republican party.

One thing that would make Lincoln stand tall today, even if hatless, would be his historical comebacks in his word-sparing with opponents coupled with his common-sense statements in office. As the agony from the weight of the Civil War fell upon him, he declared “If there is a place worse than hell, I am in it.”

I treasure my copy of Abraham Lincoln: Mystic Chords of Memory, a Selection from Lincoln’s Writings. This 79-page softcover book published in 1984 is filled with lengthy quotes from Lincoln’s writings that give me insight into the turmoil he faced. But I seldom read the pages of lengthy quotes. Lincoln’s greater resonance is from his commonsense statements seldom mentioned. One simple quote from The Lincoln Treasury rings true today as it did when spoken.

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.

The same applies to blogs. I wish I had known Abraham Lincoln as my foster child suggested in my 2015 Presidents’ Day post.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Events, Holidays, Memoir

President’s Circle

Flashing Lights and Sign on School BusI watched my first-grade foster son jump down from the yellow school bus, his short legs running down our long gravel driveway on a cool, sunny February afternoon. I stepped away from the window over the sink and opened the half-glass paned kitchen door to greet him.

Washington-Lincoln profilesDark brown eyes twinkled above his pug nose and wide grin. His caramel-colored hand clutched silhouettes of U. S. Presidents Washington and Lincoln glued to red construction paper. Before I could say, “Where’s your lunchbox?” Jacob thrust the thin-faced, long-nosed, bearded profile toward me.

Tree chopper
“Mom, did you know Abraham Lincoln cut down a cherry tree, but he confessed ’cause he was honest and couldn’t tell a lie?”

 

“That was George Washington,” I said, pointing to the curly wigged, clean-shaven outline.

Astonishment flashed across his face. “Wow, Mom! Did you know him?”

 

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Author’s note:  Jacob is a fictitious substitute for this adult, former foster child. My name and profile are set in stone. 

 

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Save the Penny

Roll of Pennies“And be if further enacted, That the money of account of the United States shall be expressed in dollars, or units, dismes or tenths, cents or hundredths, and the milles or thousandths, a dismes being the tenth part of a dollar, a cent the hundredth part of a dollar, a mille the thousandth part of a dollar, and that all accounts in the public offices and all proceedings in the courts of the United States shall be kept and had in conformity to this regulation.” (The Coinage Act of 1792, Section 20)

President Obama blasts penny production as a waste of federal funds. His statement made the news. It also made me delay my post about POV (point of view) in writing. My POV this minute is to save the penny. Here’s that POV.

I frowned at the 9/10 added to $3.87 when I refueled my car this afternoon. I purchased 9.379 gallons (I didn’t do the math—it’s on the receipt). Why are Milles (one tenth of one cent, or one thousandth of one dollar) included in the price of fuel more than a half-century after the round cardboard paper token disappeared from pockets and purses? A more profound question might be why Milles are still used to calculate property taxes.

When the penny is discontinued, will the Milles (the 9/10 on gas pumps and property tax calculations) disappear along with Abraham Lincoln’s imagine? No? you say.

You are one smart reader! Mr. Lincoln’s face will disappear. The penny will be rounded up to the nearest nickel. The next step in coinage will be to rid us of President Washington’s face which won’t be worth a plug nickel.

Not Worth a Plug Nickel. Great book title. That propels me to put my pennies in the piggy bank and return to writing from my protagonist’s POV.

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President’s Day History Lesson

I watched my first-grade foster son dash from the bus to the kitchen door on a cool, sunny February afternoon. Dark brown eyes twinkled above his pug nose and wide grin. A caramel-colored hand clutched black silhouettes of Presidents Washington and Lincoln affixed to red construction paper backgrounds. Thrusting a long-nosed, bearded profile toward me, Billy shared the excitement of his first history lesson.

“Mom, did you know Abraham Lincoln cut down a cherry tree, but he confessed ’cause he was honest and couldn’t tell a lie?”

“That was George Washington,” I said, pointing to the wigged, clean-shaven outline.

Astonishment flashed across his face. “Wow, Mom! Did you know him?”

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Filed under Events