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Lincoln's Birthday

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Abraham Lincoln's Birthday is a legal, public holiday in some U.S. states, observed on the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth on February 12, 1809, in Hodgensville, Kentucky.

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 Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War —its bloodiest war and perhaps its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, paved the way for the abolition of slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy. Here you can read more about him and his life.

Connecticut, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arizona, and California all choose to celebrate this holiday. New Jersey   used to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday until it enacted what is called The Public Employee Pension and Benefits Reform Act  of 2008. Beginning on the 29th of September, 2008, the holiday in this state was eliminated.

Most states choose to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday in combination with other holidays, such as with the celebration of George Washington’s birthday as it also falls in February. In this case, the holiday is often called “Washington’s Birthday” or “Presidents’ Day” and falls on the third Monday of February. This allows it to coincide with the Federal holiday rather than the presidents’ actual birthdays.

The History Behind Lincoln’s Birthday

Perhaps the first celebration known of Lincoln’s birthday was in 1874 in Buffalo, New York. A druggist, Julius Frances, who was from the city was determined to honor the recently assassinated President for the rest of his life. Although Francis died in 1881, he managed to repeatedly petition to Congress for the establishment of a legal holiday for Lincoln’s birthday.

Over the years, more and more people began celebrating the holiday. A tradition in Hodgenville, Kentucky now includes a ceremony for laying wreaths at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Historic Site in the same town as well as at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Memorial is, naturally, a key location for ceremonies on this day.

Beginning with the first wreath-laying at the Lincoln Memorial in 1922, the Lincoln Birthday National Commemorative Committee and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) have united to continue the tradition. A wreath is laid in honor of the late President, a custom that has even been carried across at the graves of all the deceased American presidents on their respective birthdays. The 12th of February, 2009, was the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. To mark the bicentennial, an even more elaborate event was carried out. The U.S. Mint even released four new pennies of Lincoln style, the fronts remaining the same but the backs adorned with scenes symbolic to his life. 

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Especially if you’re a history buff, you might want to take advantage of this holiday to learn more about American history and explore the event’s many festivities. Lincoln certainly contributed significantly to equality’s development in the US. Celebrating Lincoln’s birthday is a way to commemorate how far the country has come and to remember how far it has yet to go.

Lincoln's early life was spent in Kentucky so this Historic Site is worth checking out, if you want to know about it more.

Finally, don’t forget the great many museums in cities everywhere with history to learn – and enjoy Lincoln’s Birthday!

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