As I begin this post, it's 10:32pm on February 11th. In about an hour and a half, both Abraham Lincoln and I will celebrate our birthdays. Throughout my 46 years (nearly), I can't possibly count how many Lincoln birthday cakes I've been served. And indeed, I'll blow out candles on another one tomorrow. But that's not the main way I celebrate our shared nativities. For many years now, I've marked Lincoln's birthday by reading his Second Inaugural Address. Similarly, I read "Letter From Birmingham Jail" every year on Martin Luther King Day. No matter how many times I read them, the continue to inspire and enlighten in myriad ways.
In addition, I've compiled a mix CD of songs about or related to Lincoln. I will play this as well:
Abraham Lincoln - Cake Like
Abraham Lincoln - Lungfish
Abie Baby/Four Score - Hair Soundtrack
Abraham, Martin and John - Ray Charles
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - The Band
Slave Driver - Taj Mahal
Follow The Drinking Gourd - Richie Havens
Lincoln Town - John Hiatt
Lincoln Park Pirates - Steve Goodman
Hot Rod Lincoln - Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
A Short Reprise For Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But For Very Good Reasons - Sufjan Stevens
Decatur, Or, Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother! - Sufjan Stevens
In This Temple, As In The Hearts Of Man For Whom He Saved The Earth - Sufjan Stevens
Emancipation - Gary Willis
With Malice Towards None - Frank Morgan
Lincoln Portrait: I. Lento - Aaron Copland/Henry Fonda/London Symphony Orchestra
Lincoln Portrait: II. Subito Allegro
Lincoln Portrait: III. "Fellow Citizens, We Cannot Escape History..."
Ashokan Farewell - Jay Unger/Molly Mason/Fiddle Fever
Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue - Bob Newhart
Finally, I will engage in a moment of silent meditation, reflecting on Lincoln's humanity, his hard rise to greatness, and the lessons his life and his words have had for me and that will guide me and support me throughout my life.