Lincoln remembered

Perhaps the most notable person to be born in Kentucky was Abraham Lincoln, who served as President of the United States during the Civil War.

Lincoln was born in Hodgenville on Feb. 12, 1809, and became the 16th President of the United States in March of 1861. He was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, an actor, on April 15, 1865.

Lincoln is considered an American hero, and is ranked among the most important U.S. Presidents due to being credited with saving the Union in the wake of the Civil War as well as his issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.

According to the National Archives website at www.archives.gov the Emancipation Proclamation, issued on Jan. 1, 1863 as the nation approached its third year of civil war, declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” Despite the wording, the Emancipation Proclamation applied only to states which had seceded from the United States, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy (the Southern secessionist states) that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union (United States) military victory.

The National Archives website also states while the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it changed the fundamental character of the war. Following Jan. 1, 1863, every federal military advance expanded the domain of freedom. Additionally, the Proclamation announced black men would be accepted into the Union forces, enabling the liberated to become liberators. Nearly 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union by the end of the war.

Lincoln’s birthday is observed as a holiday in the United States.

The Public Holidays website located at publicholidays.us explains most states celebrate Lincoln’s birthday in combination with other holidays such as George Washington’s birthday, as it also falls in February. In this case, the holiday is often called “Presidents’ Day” and falls on the third Monday of February.

According to the National Park Service, a wreath laying ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 12 at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park. The park is located at 2995 Lincoln Farm Road in Hodgenville and is open to the public from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily.