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A New President's Day Tradition

By Paul Kallina

Tucson, Arizona

Sunday, July 9, 2023

While preparing a program for the Tucson Civil War Round Table on the Lincoln Monument in Edinburgh, Scotland (pictured to the left) - and the Lincoln Group's participation in commemorating its centenary in 1993, (see the news item of February 19, 2023 on this website), I checked the internet to see if anything dastardly had happened to the monument as has been the case with several Lincoln statues in this country.

Quite the opposite!

On February 21, 2022, the White House Historical Association (WHHA) and its president, Stewart McLaurin, began a Presidents' Day wreath laying tradition at the Lincoln Monument in Edinburgh's Old Calton Cemetery. Participants included the city's Lord Provost (the equivalent of mayor), the U.S. Consul General, and WHHA President McLaurin. It was a modest affair with few spectators – the weather appeared to be cold that day on Calton Hill. The Presidents' Day wreath laying in Edinburgh last year was probably the first formal ceremony to happen there since the Lincoln Group's centenary rededication thirty years ago.

This year the White House Historical Association expanded the Presidents' Day wreath laying ceremony to statues and memorials of presidents that are outside the United States. There are monuments to George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt in London; Harry Truman in Athens; Warren Harding in Vancouver; Bill Clinton in Pristina, Kosovo; and Abraham Lincoln in - besides Edinburgh - London, Mexico City, and Tijuana.

Slide shows of the 2022 Edinburgh ceremony and of this year's ceremonies around the world are on the White House Historical Association website. Just insert "International Presidents' Day Wreath Laying" into the search box. There is also a brief YouTube video of this year's Edinburgh ceremony. Use "Presidents' Day in Edinburgh 2023" to find it or click here.

(Editor’s note: Please be sure to take a minute to view the slide show on the White House Historical Association website – here one finds photos of the wreath laying events at all the locations listed above – and more - 22 in all in 13 countries! The YouTube video gives background on the Lincoln Monument in Edinburgh and also mentions that the Scottish city recently issued an official apology for its part in the slave trade. The blog’s author, Paul Kallina, is a long-time member of the Lincoln Group of DC.)

Photo credit: Wendy Swanson


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