By David J. Kent
Sunday, November 26, 2023
A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum. Or more accurately, at the Lincoln Forum, the annual gathering of Lincolnophiles in Gettysburg. It appears everyone wants to be associated with the Lincoln Group of DC.
That became apparent when we took our traditional Lincoln Group photo. For perspective, the photo from 2022 shows the Lincoln Group membership present. You'll remember that we won the prestigious Wendy Allen Award for our long history of "widespread recognition for bringing learning, scholarship, and enlightenment to a wide public."
This year, 2023, was special because it was the 160th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, as well as the 60th anniversary of former President Dwight E. Eisenhower giving the dedication day keynote speech (President John F. Kennedy had passed on the opportunity in favor of a trip to Dallas, Texas; an unfortunate choice given the ensuing events). The photo from 2023 below has roughly the same number of participants (in both years, other Lincoln Group members were present at the Forum but missed the photo op).
A closer look at the photo will reveal that the cast includes Lincoln Group of DC members that many LGDCers normally don't see at our monthly meetings. There are two factors influencing this. First, the Lincoln Group of DC is a national organization, which means we have members all over the country. Included are people from Washington, Illinois, Indiana, California, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and present in spirit, our immediate past president's current home state of Colorada, as well as Maryland, Virginia, and DC (and probably more I've missed). The second factor is that the Group has gained a certain notoriety as a result of the aforementioned Wendy Allen Award, the 2022 Lincoln Memorial Centennial, our efforts with others to get the old post office room in the Capitol designated the "Lincoln Room," and much more. Which means we were happy to get some of our more famous lifetime members to join us for the photo, including the Lincoln Forum Chair Harold Holzer and Vice Chair Jonathan White, artist and Lincoln Fellowship of PA President Wendy Allen, ALI Board member Tom Horrocks, Abraham Lincoln Book Shop owner Dan Weinberg, and others. More information on LGDC at the Forum can be found here.
Lincoln Group of DC members have a lot to be proud of. Since 1935, we have enjoyed a membership that has included congressmen, senators, vice presidents, and other dignitaries, in addition to some of the most respected Lincoln historians to grace the hallowed halls of the Library of Congress and National Archives. We continue to provide social and educational events to our members while engaging new generations in understanding Lincoln's dedication to "government of the people, by the people, and for the people." We are a highly active and highly respected national organization.
And there is much more on the horizon. Watch this space for information on upcoming plans, which range from some of the foremost Lincoln speakers of our time to grand plans for promoting Abraham Lincoln's reliance on the Declaration of Independence as we approach the 250th anniversary of the founding of our country in 2026.
[Photos courtesy of Melissa Winn and Henry Ballone]