Frankfort hosts Lincoln celebration in rotunda

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Ceremony includes quotes from second inaugural address

By Ben Sheroan

Abraham Lincoln was celebrated in Frankfort on his 200th birthday as state officials, invited guests and the current Leadership LaRue County class gathered for the Kentucky Historical Society’s midday ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.

The start was delayed briefly as officials awaited Gov. Steven L. Beshear’s return from the celebrations in Hodgenville.

John E. Kleber, professor emeritus of Morehead State University, was featured in the ceremony with a historic account of Lincoln’s Kentucky life including remarks from the 16th president about his native state.

Jane Gentry Vance, Kentucky’s poet laureate, read her composition called “Photograph of Lincoln.”

Greg Hardison of the Kentucky Historical Society also provided a dramatic reading from Lincoln’s second inaugural address.

The Concert Choir Ensemble from Kentucky State University offered musical presentations to open and close the ceremony. Kenny Bishop, who is a member of the Legislative Research Commission staff, sang the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

The program included a wreath-laying ceremony at the base of the Abraham Lincoln statue, which towers over the Rotunda. Gov. Beshear, Senate President David L. Williams and House Speaker Greg Stumbo carried the wreath to its place of honor.

The men then rubbed the statue’s foot for good luck as many visitors do.

The Leadership LaRue County group was in Frankfort both Thursday and Friday as part of its state government tour, which included a brief meeting with the governor and discussions with state Sen. Carroll Gibson and state Rep. Dottie Sims.