Everyone wants a piece of the old railsplitter.
In Cincinnati, where we live, you cross the bridge into Kentucky and see signs proclaiming it the Birthplace of Lincoln. Cross the Indiana state line a few miles away and the signs crow Lincoln’s Boyhood Home. And Illinois, of course, is the Land of Lincoln.
There must be more than one bridge where you can see a sign claiming Lincoln no matter which way you’re crossing.
Abe spent the most time in Illinois — from age 21 on — but he lived his first seven years in Kentucky and the next 14 in Indiana. That lets all three states grab ahold of his leg and hang on for dear life.
The websites are battling it out in the Lincoln quote department, too. Kentucky starts it with Abe saying “I, too, am a Kentuckian.” Illinois tops that with “To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything.”
Indiana starts with “There I grew up,” then busts the chops of Illinois with an Abe counter-quote: “All I am, or can be, I owe to my angel mother.” (In other words, “Everything, Illinois? Are you really stealing credit from Lincoln’s own sainted mother?)
At this rate, all three National Guards may be called out on February 12th to hurl insults across state lines, or maybe have a bicentennial slappy fight.
But we hope cooler heads will prevail. Lincoln was man enough to be claimed by three whole states. (And by DC too!)