UPDATE: Thursday night, at a dinner celebrating the Lincoln bicentennial in Springfield, Ill., President Obama delivered remarks
standing before a portrait of the 16th President (below).
The Great Emancipator would have been 200 years old today, and President Obama is marking the occasion in several ways. This morning he spoke at the Lincoln bicentennial celebration
on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and tonight he’ll address the 102nd Abraham Lincoln Association Annual Banquet Dinne
Last night he appeared at the Re-Opening of Ford’s Theatre
, the site of the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Lincoln. Big names like Katie Couric, James Earl Jones, and Jeffrey Wright, appeared, and there performances by the President’s Own Marine Band, violinist Joshua Bell, and Audra McDonald, among others.
The 44th President commended the 16th’s many accomplishments, but made particular note of his commitment to the future, even amid the upheaval of the Civil War.
"When President Lincoln
was finally told of all the metal being used at the Capitol, his response was short and clear: That is as it should be," President Obama said in his remarks
. "The American people needed to be reminded, he believed, that even in a time of war, the work would go on; that even when the nation itself was in doubt, the future was being secured; and that on that distant day when the guns fell silent, a national capitol would stand, with a statue of freedom at its peak, as a symbol of unity in the land still mending its divisions."
White House photos 2/12/09 by Pete Souza