Two hundred and four years ago today, Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin on a farm in Hardin County, Kentucky. Lincoln’s birthday is a legal holiday in only 7 states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Indiana). Local government buildings are closed here in New York, including the courts.
Growing up, I had gotten used to having both Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s birthday off from school, but that changed in the mid-1980s with the joint holiday of “Presidents Day” on the third Monday of February. I put it in quotes because the official name is still “Washington’s Birthday.” Washington’s Birthday is actually a federal holiday while there has never been an annual Federal holiday honoring Lincoln. As they say, the South lost the war, but won the peace.
But maybe that might be changing with the changing demographics of this country and a new found interest in the 16th President, thanks to Steven Spielberg's wonderful film, Lincoln. Spielberg is planning to send a free copy of the movie to every school in the country so students of today and tomorrow can learn a little bit more about one of our greatest presidents.