Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln

What Is National Freedom Day


The Gift of National Freedom Day

Every February 1st, the United States of America celebrates National Freedom Day, designed to honor the day in 1865 when President Abraham Lincoln signed a joint resolution by both the House and Senate of America’s government to propose a new addition to the United States Constitution, the 13th Amendment.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution reads: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

National Freedom Day celebrates the end of slavery in the United States, a condition that had existed since the first colonies began to sprout up along the eastern seaboard of America. While more slaves existed in the southern states, northern state inhabitants as well practiced slavery. The signing of the document plunged our young country into war against itself, as large slave-holding states in the south felt that no one, not even their northern brothers, should be allowed to tell them how they could live their lives. The amendment was ratified in December of 1865. Nevertheless, the country had remained divided and at war for four long, bloody years. After the war ended, it took many more years, and decades, for the wounds and scars to heal.

Today, every man, woman and child in the United States is a free man, and it is against the law to hold any against his or her will. National Freedom Day was established by a presidential proclamation by President Harry S. Truman on June 30, 1948, though the literal father of the day was a man named Major Richard Wright. Wright, a former slave, dedicated his life to pursuing freedom for all African-Americans from his state of Pennsylvania. As a freed slave, Wright went on to educate himself and become a respected and successful businessman in Philadelphia, nicknamed the City of Brotherly Love. Wright drafted a document with local and national leaders that would forever declare February 1st as National Freedom Day, a time that all Americans, regardless of race or color, could rejoice in the knowledge that every citizen of the United States is free to pursue an education, career, rights and dreams.

While National Freedom Day is not a federal holiday, people of all races within the country nevertheless celebrate it, and schools take the opportunity to instruct students about the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movements, Abraham Lincoln and his daring Emancipation Proclamation as well as the 13th Amendment which guaranteed the freedom of all United States citizens. There is no gift so precious in the eyes of many than is the concept of freedom, and America exemplifies that right. Despite years of observing the practice of slavery, and the divisions that erupted into war, the American people of the Civil War era overcame their difficulties and created new ideas and new ways of living that are still admired today.

The 13th Amendment and National Freedom Day have also served to promote the rights of employees in the United States, and were a major benefit when drafting child labor laws of the early twentieth century. Every American, regardless of age, race or belief, celebrates national Freedom Day with recognition and appreciation for the struggles and determination of our ancestors. Children and adults everywhere celebrate the day with the knowledge that no one in their country will ever be able to legally indenture them or force them to perform tasks unwillingly. National Freedom Day is a day to recognize that everything comes with a struggle, including freedom, but with common sense of purpose and determination, the American people will forever stand united, and free.

When Is Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

The United States of America has few presidents that are more beloved and admired than Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth president. There’s something about the tall, homely man that evokes in people the sense that Lincoln was a genuinely gentle man, one who cared deeply for his country and was distraught at the Civil War that broke out during his years of presidency.

The first observation of Lincoln’s birthday was held in 1866. Washington D.C. was determined to remember their assassinated president with speeches and memorial services that honored the man and what he stood for. Attended by President Johnson, his Cabinet members, as well as senators and legislators from nearly every state in the Union, the event was well represented for this first memorial address offered in the name of the beloved president. The anniversary of Lincoln’s birth on February 12th was designated as the day to honor his memory and flags throughout the capitol and the nation flew at half-staff. That first memorial was a somber affair, an occasion that honored his birth as well as periods of silence marking his sudden and violent death.

Lincoln took the presidential office in March of 1861, and the War Between the States broke out about a month later, plunging the country into a period of darkness that has never been repeated. Lincoln was re-elected to the presidency in 1864, but in April of 1865, just as the war came to an end, he was shot at Ford’s Theatre while watching a play. He died the following morning, and his death plunged the nation into mourning, both in the North and the South. Upon his death, his secretary of war stated, “He now belongs to the ages.”

By 1909, the hundredth anniversary of his birth, Lincoln’s name and memory had become an American favorite, and Americans revered and honored his name more than any other president in history to date. Memorial tablets were placed at Lincoln’s birthplace in Springfield, Illinois, which is a National and Historical Landmark to this day. As each year passed, millions of Americans celebrated the life of the president who sought to hold a divided nation together, and who died as a result of that dedication. Lincoln’s name made a great impact on other countries around the world as well, and many nations joined to honor his memory throughout the world.

In 1910, a bill was passed by Congress to erect a National Monument in Washington D.C. in honor of Lincoln, and thus began building and construction plans for the Lincoln Memorial that is visited by millions of people every year, not only by Americans, but world travelers as well. The monument was completed in 1922. Lincoln’s portrait from 1864 has been used on the five-dollar bill in American for generations.

Schools across the nation observe and celebrate Lincoln’s birthday every year. Children of all ages learn one of Lincoln’s most famous and heartfelt speeches, the Gettysburg Address, given after a horrific battle that cost the lives of thousands of Americans fighting amongst themselves. Lincoln’s legacy urges Americans today to stand united, as he stated, “A house divided amongst itself cannot stand” and to this day, Americans strive to follow his lead and example. As one of the country’s favorite presidents, the anniversary of his birthday, celebrated every February 12th, is a special occasion in states around the nation, celebrated with patriotic parties, speeches and events. Abraham taught all Americans that even those who come from humble beginnings can strive and reach any goals they set for themselves, even if it includes reaching the greatest position in the country, as President of the United States.
During his second Inaugural address, Lincoln spoke words that endure to this day when he said, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”