Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy President's Day

Today is the day we set aside in honor of two of our most cherished presidents: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Washington's birthday falls on February 22, which is next Monday. Lincoln's was last Friday, the 12th.

Almost one year after President Lincoln was assassinated, both houses of Congress gathered to commemorate him with a special memorial address on his birthday. Following this act, Lincoln's birthday became an annual observance in many states both north and south. However, President's Day wasn't set aside as a national holiday until 1968. When the Lincoln Memorial was being constructed in Washington D.C. the sculptor, Daniel Chester French, replicated his own hands, which are grasping onto the arms of the great throne. The monument was dedicated on May 30, 1922, and attended by Lincoln's only surviving son, Robert Todd Lincoln.

Both presidents are held as sacred in the hearts of Americans. Even Disney is getting in on the act. This year, Disneyland is opening an attraction called "Presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln," in the Main Street Opera. This attraction, originally presented in 1965, has been enhanced, according to Disney, "by technological advances, including Audio-Animatronics which have created a startlingly life-like Abraham Lincoln. Following Walt Disney’s wishes, the legendary President’s voice is still the late actor Royal Dano’s." I remember seeing this display when I was a kid, and I have to tell you, it was awe-inspiring. To have Mr. Lincoln rise to his feet and speak to you as though he was really there is something everyone should see!

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