Iowa is preparing to join the other 50 states in honoring the 200th birthday of the president who is credited with saving the union. Darla Welch of the Iowa Human Rights Commission is the spokesperson for the effort. Welch says there will be a commemoration of the bicentennial year of Abraham Lincoln’s birth in 2009, and a commission has been set up in Washington to plan the celebration.
Welch says each state has also created its own commission. She says the purpose of the Iowa commission is to organize the events in the state for the bicentennial year. The head of the Iowa Human Rights Commission, Walter Reed, was appointed to lead the Iowa Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Welch says the celebration will work much like the nation’s bicentennial in 1976 in which the states do events along with several national events.
Welch says for example, there will be a kickoff of the bicentennial in February in Kentucky. Welch says the Iowa commission has met twice and they’re in the early planning stages. Welch says they’re looking at having Lincoln presenters, along with activities in communities across the state that can be endorsed by the bicentennial commission to give them publicity. Welch says they’re also doing lots of research and plan on printing a publication that highlights Lincoln’s ties to Iowa. Welch says they’ve already found many Lincoln links to Iowa.
Welch says Lincoln’s son Robert Todd was married to an Iowan, Lincoln made several visits to Iowa and was instrumental in the creation of the transcontinental railroad that crossed Iowa. She says there are also several statues of Lincoln in Iowa. The next meeting of the Iowa Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission is November 9th.