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Cabinet Secretaries Mark Lincoln's Birthday

By Ed O'Keefe
Ken Salazar
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar marked Lincoln's 200th birthday earlier today at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

President Obama attended the reopening of Ford's Theatre, a Capitol Hill event and will visit Springfield, Ill., but several of his cabinet secretaries are also marking the 16th president's big 2-0-0.

“Abraham Lincoln is not only one of the greatest presidents, he is in many ways the definition of what it means to be an American,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said earlier today during a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. “His courage, his humility, his faith, his commitment to freedom and justice and his belief in a nation ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’ shine as a beacon over our history.”

The Interior Department's National Park Service oversees several Lincoln-related historical sites: Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville, Ken., Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Ill., the recently-reopened Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site in Washington, D.C, Gettysburg National Battlefield in Pennsylvania and Mount Rushmore National Monument in South Dakota.

A few blocks away at the Agriculture Department, Sec. Tom Vilsack held a "pavement breaking" ceremony for the new "People's Garden," to be built on the grounds of department headquarters.

"It is essential for the federal government to lead the way in enhancing and conserving our land and water resources," Vilsack said. "President Obama has expressed his commitment to responsible stewardship of our land, water and other natural resources, and one way of restoring the land to its natural condition is what we are doing here today."

President Lincoln established the USDA in 1862, referring to it as "The People's Department." The new garden will eliminate 1,250 square feet of unnecessary paved surface, according to a USDA news release. The department will honor Lincoln further by establishing similar community gardens at each USDA facility worldwide.

Finally, while it's not an official Lincoln Birthday event, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood travels back to his home state with President Obama today for an event at the Caterpillar Plant in East Peoria, Ill. He will also attend events marking Lincoln's birthday in Springfield, Ill. tonight and was with the president last night at Ford's Theatre. Lincoln was of course a resident of ... The Land of Lincoln.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | February 12, 2009; 3:45 PM ET
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I am pleased to learn that President Obama has given such thought to Lincoln's legacy.

When President Lincoln faced a financial crises he had the good sense to tell the New York bankers off when they demanded usurious interest on the debt needed to attempt to preserve the union. Instead he directed the treasury to issue Debt-Free Greenbacks to finance the obligations of the government. In so doing he kept us for a time and to some extent from the bondage of indebtness to bankers.

In light of President Obama's special affection for Lincoln we should perhaps discuss very extensively, very publically and on every opportune occasion President Lincoln's solution to a previous dire financial crisis.

Posted by: LincolnsWisdom | February 12, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

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