Saturday, February 12, 2011

Huntley Lincoln Speech Helps Mark Start Of Civil War Observance

One hundred forty people crowded Prairie Lodge's Drendel Ballroom Friday to help try to break the world record for the number of people simultaneously reading Abe Lincoln's farewell to Springfield.  Sun City Lincoln re-enactor Gary Cooney led the reading of Lincoln's one-paragraph speech.

He was one of many around the country reciting the speech at the same time that a crowd gathered at Springfield's old railroad depot to recreate the day before Lincoln's 52nd birthday in 1861 when he boarded a train for Washington to assume his pivotal presidency.  Friday's event marked the start of the nation's observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial. (Sesqui: Latin for "one and a half"; Centennial: Latin again for "100" and "year".)

Local organizer Dottie Bobzin said the idea for the Sun City reading was just a bolt from blue one day.  "It seemed like a good thing to do," she said.

No one knows if all the people who read Lincoln's speech simultaneously set a new Guiness Book of World Records mark for that sort of thing.  The currently record stands at 223,363 but it'll be at least a couple of weeks before the Guiness people can tote up Friday's effort, according to Bobzin.

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