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President Lincoln comes to Ironton

Hundreds of area residents took a trip back in time Tuesday evening, as they gathered for a Veterans Memorial Committee dinner at OUSC.

Wednesday, February 14, 2001

Hundreds of area residents took a trip back in time Tuesday evening, as they gathered for a Veterans Memorial Committee dinner at OUSC.

The year? 1864. The day? Just after president Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

Following an audience chorus of "Happy Birthday," Judge Frank McCown introduced Lincoln, saying he would speak on the war activities.

"I believe we have the cessationists on the run," he said.

Lincoln – performed by nationally known impersonator James Getty – thanked everyone attending, described the importance of the Ohio River and discussed the governors, soldiers and dignitaries from Ohio who strived to bring the nation back together.

General Sherman, three state governors and a host of others have played a part, he said.

"So I can’t be grateful enough in my expression to Ohio."

Remembrances of Lincoln’s personal bodyguard William Henry Creek, performed by McCown; a violin solo by Jill Dean; the "Within the White House Walls" play written by Jeff Handley; an oratory of the Gettysburg by Lincoln; music and food of the era – it all put history in perspective and marked the Veterans Memorial Committee’s dedication to building a new memorial in Woodland Cemetery.

In fact, the dinner itself raised funds for the committee to restore four historic Parrott Rifles and build the memorial.

That idea, and the performance of Lincoln, is what drew David and Marie Wireman out for the dinner.

Wireman is an avid fan of Lincoln history. The couple spent their honeymoon at Gettysburg.

"We learn from the past," he said, adding the memorial will be a wonderful addition to show what the area owes its veterans.

"We need to take care of what we have so generations after us can learn from it."