The Bugler

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Let's Get Presidential

It seems like forever since February became the month with a three day weekend called Presidents' Day Weekend. Retailers and school children have grown to love the fact that two of the United States most famous Presidents were born in February, Lincoln on February 12, 1809 and George Washington on February 22, 1732. Most schools, many businesses and all federal offices are closed to celebrate these two Presidents.

The simple paragraph above has one glaring error. Bipartisanship extends even into federal holidays. Abraham Lincoln's birthday isn't a federal holiday. There is no "Presidents' Day." It's actually legally known only as "Washington's Birthday."

In 1968 Congress considered a bill to change the day when several federal holidays were observed. This bill was known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act and according to the Christian Science Monitor: "Lincoln's birthday wasn't in early drafts of this bill. It did include a Presidents' Day meant to supplant the existing Washington's birthday holiday. This name change was suggested by one of the bill's main proponents, Rep. Robert McClory, a Republican from Illinois." The article goes on to state that "the bill stalled in committee. Eventually Congressman McClory dropped his Presidents' Day proposal to mollify lawmakers from Virginia, who wanted Washington's prerogatives preserved." The bill finally passed creating the framework of three-day federal holidays beginning January 1, 1971 and still in place today. The name of the celebration on the third Monday in February remains "Washington's Birthday."

In checking to see if our Federal government knew that it was Washington's Birthday and not Presidents' Day, a couple of random calendars were checked. The Senate's calendar refers to it as President's Day, so not sure if they think they are celebrating one President or two, but luckily the Office of Personnel Management refers to the holiday as Washington's Birthday.

The Trial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy

With the 150th commemoration of the Civil War, there has been a plethora of articles about Lincoln, in addition to director Steven Speilberg's 2012 biopic Lincoln. An outstanding article that is still very relevant today can be found in the Army History Magazine 2013 Winter issue. The article by Fred L. Borch is titled, "'Let the Stain of Innocent Blood Be Removed from the Land:' The Trial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy by Military Commission." The article examines the reasons why the assassination conspirators were tried by a military commission versus a civil court and reminds us that the original plot had been to kidnap Lincoln to disrupt the Union. Unfortunately, John Wilkes Booth listened to Lincoln speak to the crowd on the White House lawn on April 10, 1865 and was "outraged over Lincoln's proposal to give civil rights and political powers to African Americans." (Army.mil) The kidnapping plot, which had been derailed in March, quickly changed to a murder plot. Four days after his talk on the White House lawn, President Lincoln was dead.

149 Year Old Photo

Abraham Lincoln, Seated Feb 9, 1864 (Library of Congress).

This famous photo of Lincoln was taken by Anthony Berger of the Mathew Brady Studio. The daguerreotype of this photo is used on the current five dollar bill.

Shout Out to a Good Samaritan in Lincoln, Nebraska

The Lincoln Airport in Lincoln, Nebraska has a long and interesting history. During World War II the airfield was named Lincoln Army Air Field and used for mechanics and flight crew training. In 1952 the facility was re-opened as Lincoln Air Force Base and operated as a Strategic Air Command base. Today a portion of the Lincoln Airport is home to Nebraska's Air National Guard.

The airport's main runway was also an alternative landing site for NASA's Space Shuttle orbiter because of its extremely long main runway of 12,900 feet. Although the space shuttle never landed there, several college teams have used the runway when arriving for football games against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Glendale learned about this airport when a customer reported that she, along with approximately 220 other passengers, made an unscheduled stop in Lincoln on Christmas Eve after an electrical fire on a passenger plane. The stranded passengers remained in the airport for over 12 hours. The day was saved when a local community member, picking up a passenger on another arriving flight, learned of the problem and quietly had 24 dozen pizzas delivered to feed the tired and hungry visitors.

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