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Backgrounder: Memorial activities on Lincoln's 200th birthday
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08:21, February 13, 2009

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The United States is celebrating Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday Thursday, tracing the remarkable life of the country's 16th president from a frontier log cabin to his death in Washington.

A day of tributes in Washington began with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial, followed by a second ceremony at Ford's Theater where the president was fatally shot in the back of the head on April 14, 1865.

The historic theater, which has undergone an 18-month renovation, has just reopened to the public.

The National Archives is opening a special, five-day exhibit that will include a display of the original Emancipation Proclamation.

There will also be a 45-minute live and online teach-in at the National Archives, with 4,000 schools nationwide participating.

The U.S. Postal Service is selling four new stamps depicting stages of Lincoln's life.

They show him splitting rails when he was young, and working as a lawyer, as a politician and as president.

The Library of Congress is holding an exhibit called "With Malice Toward None" that will trace Lincoln's life and display rarely seen treasures.

It will also include letters, photographs and political cartoons, as well as Lincoln's grammar book, his family Bible and originals of both of his presidential inaugural addresses.

U.S. President Barack Obama will honor Lincoln at an event in the U.S. Capitol by noon, before traveling to Springfield, Illinois, the hometown of Lincoln to attend memorial events there.

On Wednesday night, he attended a star-studded gala at the historic Ford's Theater, the site of Lincoln's assassination in 1865.

Thousands of events are being held across the country to mark Lincoln's 200th birthday.


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