Virginia won't celebrate Lincoln bicentennial

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On the same grounds that once served as the Capitol of the Confederacy, the past seeped into the present yesterday as a House panel discussed Abraham Lincoln and slavery.

The House Rules Committee tabled a measure pushed by state Sen. Henry L. Marsh III, D-Richmond, that sought to establish a commission to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the 16th president's birth, which will occur Feb. 12, 2009.

"Lincoln is regarded by many as the most outstanding president of all time," Marsh told the committee, pointing out that the slain leader's parents were born in Virginia.

A Richmond resident spoke against the commission, charging it represents "historical myopia and amnesia at its worse" and "kowtowing to the leader of Virginia's enemies."

Robert Lamb, a lawyer and member of Sons of Confederate Veterans who said he was speaking as an individual, said Lincoln as U.S. president during the Civil War sent armies into Virginia who "laid waste to the land," among other grievances.

If anyone's 200th birthday should be honored, it should be that of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America, who was born on June 3, 1808, said Lamb, who was wearing a tie with a pattern of Confederate flags.

Congress created a federal commission seven years ago, and 10 states have established their own commissions to mark the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth, said spokesman David Early. Most states - including Virginia - have appointed liaisons to the federal panel to help coordinate their own celebrations.
Read entire article at Richmond Times-Dispatch

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