Abraham Lincoln defines the civic ideal of what it means to be an American.
But what more is there to learn about our 16th president? What’s left to unearth? What remains relevant about a president born nearly two centuries ago?
In his Gettysburg address, Lincoln reminded what “the brave men, living and dead” did on the battlefield and challenged the living to dedicate themselves “to the unfinished work” of those men.
How much of that work is still not completed?
Surmounting race and assuring equal rights for all are Lincoln’s two major challenges still on the nation’s agenda. As the embodiment of the highest ideals and values of our nation, Abraham Lincoln can still help us meet those challenges.
Through education programs, public forums and arts projects the Bicentennial provides an opportunity to re-examine what it means to be American in the 21st century.
Two centuries after Lincoln’s birth, the nation is still in formation. The United States has grown and expanded. One cost of that growth has been a splintering of many parts of our society. Competing values, interests and beliefs, have complicated Lincoln’s goal to find unity in our diversity.
The Bicentennial commemoration of his life and legacy will be a bright beacon to completing our nation’s “unfinished work.”