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Happy 200th birthday, Abe!

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By Dave Bell

He’s long been referred to as the most respected and beloved president in our nation’s history.

And now, as we pause to observe the 200th anniversary of his birth, Abraham Lincoln is once again front and center. Across the nation – but particularly here in Illinois – we’re celebrating the life and character of this remarkable man.

Remembered primarily for his efforts to keep our young nation unified during the difficult struggle over slavery, Lincoln endeared himself to friends and foes alike because of his homespun humor and his plain-talking logic.

And yet, he could be an orator with the best of them. His soaring “Gettysburg Address” simply, but eloquently, captured the essence of the nation’s collective emotions as he stood on that blood-stained battlefield in Pennsylvania.

It was on his watch that our nation endured one of its most difficult tests. There were, in fact, times when it wasn’t clear whether the nation could survive. But it did.

Here in Vandalia, we have a direct connection with Lincoln. It was here that he launched his legislative career, serving as a state representative from Sangamon County. And it was here that he first spoke out on one of the preeminent issues of his time – slavery.

As we celebrate his 200th birthday, we acknowledge the many contributions of this unique man. And we’re thankful our community had a part in his life.

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