Friday, February 13, 2009

And the Children Shall Lead Us

February 12th marked the 200th anniversary of President Lincoln's birth. Humble Middle School had a special after school program that I was pleased to witness. Instead of the knitting club, about 100 kids celebrated Lincoln's life with music, speeches, questionaires and, of course, birthday cake and ice cream. A custodian, with a voice that rivals Aretha Franklin's, sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic. The school string orchestra then followed with its own, slightly sqeaky, version of the same song. A teacher presented a wonderful powerpoint with great background music. Three students read short essays emphasizing the importance of the Emancipation Proclamation. A special poster of Lincoln and a replica of the Gettysburg address were presented to the school and a picture was taken of all who participated. The photo will go to a group in Washington, D. C. to be included with other memorabilia on how this day was celebrated around the country.

A very moving moment was when a very small boy read the Lincoln quote that the students had decided as the most important to them. It was "The struggle of today, is not altogether for today - it is for a vast future also, with a reliance on providence, all the more firm and earnest, let us proceed to the great task which events have devolved around us."

Just think, about seventy years ago Humble, where this school is located, voted to exclude blacks from the town. Not only did the blacks have to move outside of the town's legal limits but the local black cemetary was dug up and moved out of town as well.

Now the middle school celebrates Lincoln's life. Amazing! Definitely worth giving up a knitting club meeting.

One amusing moment - just before the photo was taken, one girl said that she wanted to be in the picture so that President Obama could see her celebrating Lincoln's birthday. I wonder if he will?

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