Did you know there was a Lincoln tribute in Michigan in 1972?


The above picture if of a pamphlet I found in an old bookstore. Apparently, there was a Lincoln tribute in Michigan, February 11, 1972. I have lived in Michigan most of my life and didn’t know about it. Then President of the United States-Richard Nixon wrote an introductory message for the booklet. Here is what he said about Lincoln, in part:

“He loved his country partly because it was his own country, but mostly because it was a free country; and he burned with a zeal for its advancement, prosperity, and glory, because he saw in such, the advancement, prosperity and glory of human liberty, human right and human nature.  He desired the prosperity of his countrymen partly because they were his countrymen, but chiefly to show to the world that freemen could be prosperous.”

The celebration of Abraham Lincoln was held in Lansing. There was a dinner followed by tributes. Some of the guest speakers are well known to those who have lived in Michigan: William G. Milliken, Robert P. Griffin, and Gerald R. Ford. Gerald Ford, of course, would become President of the United States in just a few years from that time. Interestingly enough, the event was held in February 1972. In June of 1972, activites would occur at the Watergate Hotel that would eventually lead to the unraveling of President Nixon’s term of office. The guest Lincoln scholar for that evening was R. Gerald McMurtry. He was the editor of the now defunct magazine Lincoln Lore. He also had been appointed by President Eisenhower in 1957 to be a member of the National Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission. He was the author of multiple books on Abraham Lincoln, as well. The tribute had corporate sponsors. None of the sponsors were from the tricountry area of Detroit covering Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties. Given the density of population in the tricounty area, I found that odd. Perhaps part of the explanation was, simply, what was going on in 1972. The Vietnam War was still very much happening. I think Abraham Lincoln as a hero/icon may have hit a low point at that time. President Nixon was distained by the younger generation. The youth movement that had started in the 1960’s was still ongoing. The draft was still on! Teenagers were wearing fringed jackets fashioned from the colors of the American Flag. I was a late teenager by then. I heard nothing of this event. The thinking on Lincoln would shift again-as it does for each generation. But for a moment, in 1972, Lincoln was honored in a very special way. Too bad we didn’t know.

 Mail this post

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply