Few readers of Sunday newspapers were aware that yesterday marked Abraham Lincoln’s birthday --- a sad reflection on modern editors who usually relish anniversaries as easy ways to fill up columns around ads throughout the year, notes Grumpy Editor.
Just last week, much editorial space was filled with two lengthy Associated Press stories on English novelist Charles Dickens birthday --- three years after Lincoln’s in 1809.
Marking Lincoln’s birthday, once widely celebrated on Feb. 12, is now combined with all other presidents on next Monday’s Presidents’ Day.
However, Illinois, in observance of the 16th president's birthday, closes government offices, courthouses and libraries today (since Lincoln’s birthday falls on Sunday this year). Even there, though, honoring the occasion is limited. A banquet, organized by the Abraham Lincoln Association, was held last night at the President Lincoln Hotel in Springfield.
In New York, the state designated Lincoln's birthday as a floating holiday in 2012 for state employees in certain bargaining units.
Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., yesterday celebrated Lincoln’s birthday and the opening of the Center for Education and Leadership with a day of free programming and activities that started with the National Park Service commemorating the occasion with wreath-laying in front of the theater.
One of the noteworthy tributes to Lincoln came yesterday in a Christian Science Monitor story by Peter Grier, who reminded:
“Abraham Lincoln may be the greatest of all U.S. presidents. He ended slavery, won the Civil War, and ensured that the United States would remain united in the modern world. His face is printed on the five-dollar bill and stamped on the penny. The Lincoln Memorial is one of the nation’s iconic sites.
“But Lincoln’s Birthday on Feb. 12 is not a national holiday, and it never has been.”
In one of the few mentions on television, Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee, interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, greeted the host with “Happy Abraham Lincoln birthday.” He responded by noting her birthday was the day prior (in 1964, at Sandpoint, Idaho).