12 February 2009

The other big 200th today

I'd be deeply remiss if I neglected to mention that today is also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

Sarah Vowell, Lincoln's leading hipster advocate, says it best in The Partly Cloudy Patriot:
How many of us drew his beard in crayon? We built models of his boyhood cabin with Elmer's glue and toothpicks. We memorized the Gettysburg Address, reciting its ten sentences in stovepipe hats stapled out of black construction paper. The teachers taught us to like Washington and to respect Jefferson. But Lincoln - him they taught us to love.
I suggest, as a sample of his speeches, the second inaugural, which concludes appropriately for our turbulent present:
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

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