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Lincoln's 200th birthday celebrated in Springfield
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15:17, February 13, 2009

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The entire city of Springfield is celebrating a person's birthday on Thursday. Of course, only one person in Springfield's history deserves such a great honor -- Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States.

Lincoln was born 200 years ago on Feb. 12, 1809, in a Kentucky log cabin, not Springfield, but it does not matter to the people in Springfield at all. That's because, they argue, Springfield was Lincoln's political starting point.

In 1837, Lincoln moved to Springfield, the capital of Illinois, and spent the next 17 years there as a lawyer and politician. Springfield is also the place where Lincoln was buried after he was assassinated in 1865. This gives the city enough reason to celebrate Lincoln's bicentennial as his hometown does.

On Thursday, people went to every place where Lincoln's footmark can be found and attended all kinds of events to honor Lincoln's bicentennial.

In the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, for example, hundreds of students from Illinois participated in a statewide reading of Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address. Many well-known Lincoln authors took part in book signings and panel discussions. At the same time, a panel of noted Lincoln scholars engaged in a roundtable discussion of Lincoln and the Civil War.

In the plaza of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum, the 10th Cavalry Regiment band played classical music for people in the museum.

At the Lincoln Home Visitor Center, children wrote their words onto a wall, telling people what Lincoln is like in their eyes. The Old State Capitol, where Lincoln took the first step of his political life and where his remains were kept before he was buried, played a very important role in the Lincoln bicentennial celebration.

The Abraham Lincoln Association, which holds an annual Feb. 12 symposium in the House of Representatives at the Old State Capitol, held a panel discussion featuring several renowned Lincoln authors.

"My great-great-great-grand father is Lincoln's personal friend and they formed the Republic Party together," Gloria Cassell, a volunteer of Lincoln Association, told Xinhua.

"Many people don't think Lincoln is the greatest U.S. president, but I do, and I think most people in Springfield do, that is why we are so happy to celebrate the great birthday," she said.

Another important reason that made the city so happy and excited to celebrate Lincoln's birthday was the fact that new U.S. President Barack Obama also came to the festivities.

Obama attended a banquet held by the Lincoln Association late Thursday and delivered a keynote speech.


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