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I just read about the "statue" your
town is proposing.
I don't know what else to say other
than that I am honestly appalled that you would even consider such a
tasteless way to commemorate this man who is arguably one of the
greatest Americans ever and of whom the state of Illinois should
take utmost pride in claiming as perhaps its foremost citizen. In
fact, it is far from a "commemoration." It is a blatant and
egregiously self-serving commercialization of a national icon, and
one which can only engender ridicule and controversy.
Yes, there will be people who will
flock to see your proposed curiosity, but even more who will find it
offensive and utterly bankrupt of style and good taste. In time, it
will come to be ridiculed on the same level as the National Tower
was at Gettysburg. I fully understand the need of smaller
communities to discover ways to encourage growth and prosperity in
times of shifting demographics. If you feel a theme park is the only
cure to your revitalization problems, so be it. But I encourage your
town fathers to take a jaunt to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., and see
firsthand what "creative problem-solving" has done to that blight on
our nation's landscape. Is that the image of your town's future?
Isn't your city's well of creativity any deeper than that?
[to top of second
column in this letter]
I challenge you to stand at the foot of
Daniel French's incredible white marble statue in Washington, read
the amazing words of the Second Inaugural Address, then ask
yourselves if what you are proposing is truly the best you can do to
uphold the veneration this great man? Or drive a few miles to the
tomb in Springfield, stand there in the darkened silence of where he
rests and ask him what he thinks of your idea. I think you know the
I implore you, don't make a
laughingstock of this man at a time when our country is in such dire
need of real heroes.
Below is a response letter from Mayor
Davis to the Los Angeles Times editor regarding a March 22 article written by
reporter Stephanie Simon.
- - - - -
As mayor of the city of Lincoln,
president of the Lincoln/Logan County Economic Development
Partnership and a member of the Lincoln Statue Corporation, I find
Ms. Simon's humor in poking fun at our Abraham Lincoln statue
First of all, in case you didn't know,
Abraham Lincoln, next to Jesus Christ, is the most read and talked
about person in the history of mankind. In case you didn't get very
far into our city's website, I'd like to give you some facts about
our great city.
Lincoln, Ill., located in the middle of
the state, was named as the No. 1 tourism city and county in the
state of Illinois in 2003 at our Illinois Municipal League
convention in Chicago last September. Early in 2003, our Logan
County Looking for Lincoln group produced a wonderful video
depicting Abraham Lincoln's life in Lincoln and Logan County.
The city itself celebrated its 150th
anniversary (sesquicentennial) in August 2003 with a 10-day
multi-entertaining celebration. We produced a video diary DVD and
still-picture DVD depicting the sesquicentennial events, as well as
a DVD of the Abraham Lincoln statue we are proposing. We had a
three-day hot-air balloon fest, around-the-clock guard of the
traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall we commissioned for our celebration,
live outside entertainment including a variety of bands and the
Illinois Symphony Orchestra, an Abe and Mary Lincoln look-alike
contest, Civil War re-enactors and band, a Civil War ball, a
two-hour parade, an 1860s baseball game, a community picture, an
Underground Railroad display and speaker talk about how quilts were
essential in helping slaves escape from slave to free states during
the Civil War, a panel of well-known history professors talk about
the life of Abraham Lincoln, etc. We take our claim to fame from
Abraham Lincoln, not only as the man who walked our streets, named
and christened our city with the juice of a watermelon, but who then
seven short years later became our nation's 16th president.
[to top of second
column in this letter]
Our local Rev. S.M. Davis' idea of
celebrating Abraham Lincoln as the great man he was has been a
serious goal of our corporation and for many people of our
community. The statue's proposed 305-foot height was decided upon
because it is the same height as the Statue of Liberty. What better
place is there than Lincoln, Ill., to build the Abe statue than in
the community where he laid out the town, christened it his
namesake, owned property, practiced law, where he actually got his
name "Honest Abe," and where he truly showed humility and kindness
to his fellow human beings?
The city of Lincoln is only 30 miles
north of Springfield, Ill. (our state capital); 30 miles south of
Bloomington, Ill.; 40 miles southeast of Peoria, Ill.; and 25 miles
west of Decatur, Ill. We are in the hub of interstates I-55, I-155,
Route 10, Route 121 and located on famous Route 66.
Please print this letter and give the
memory of Abraham Lincoln and the city named for and by him the
respect he deserves. If only you knew the wonderful museums we have
planned to surround the statue -- all the nationalities he
represented and cared for as president of the United States. The
statue will be tasteful, reverent and awe-inspiring.
If you hear of a corporation interested
in becoming a sponsor, please forward that information to me, the
Rev. S.M. Davis or corporation president Larry Steffens.
I thank you for allowing me the
opportunity to express my views and clarify some of the
misconceptions reporter Simon stated about our great city in her
article of March 22, 2004. Please contact me if you have any
Mayor Elizabeth A. "Beth" Davis