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Fiftieth Anniversary Event Held

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

National Park News

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial concluded a four-day, 50th anniversary celebration on Tuesday, July 10th.

The event included a classic car show, an appearance by a re-enactor portraying President Theodore Roosevelt, a 1960s rock band, speeches by members of Congress, and a naturalization ceremony in which 75 people from more than 20 countries took the oath of United States citizenship.

Nearly 50 classic cars participated in the “1962 Days” event, including a 1961 Lincoln Continental driven from Chicago with no air conditioning despite record-breaking high temperatures that topped 108 degrees. Over 100 former park and Lincoln City, Indiana, alumni also braved the heat to stay for a picnic that evening and signed up to form the core of a new park friends group.

Led by the 20-piece Red Bank Reunion Band, Sunday’s events included presentations by Pat Koch, a local resident who President Kennedy handed the authorizing pen to in the Oval Office; Archabbot Bonaventure Knaebel, the only surviving delegate of the 1962 park dedication; Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock; and U.S. Representative Larry Bucshon. The rededication concluded with the unveiling of the park's National Historic Landmark plaque received earlier this year.

Children were exposed to frontier schooling in a “Blab School” presentation at the park’s living historical farm on Monday. Other farm events included blacksmith and quilting demonstrations as well as an opportunity for visitors to get their hands dirty and sheer a sheep.

The four-day celebration concluded on Tuesday with a naturalization ceremony presided over by Federal Judge Richard L. Young. Families and the public watched with tears in their eyes as 75 new citizens joined the ranks of other Americans.

"When you came here, you were different from me,” Young said, “but now we are no longer different, we are all citizens of the United States."

Superintendent Kendell Thompson addressed standing room only crowd of over 350 people assembled in the Abraham Lincoln Hall.

“From poor boy and rail splitter to president, Abraham Lincoln is the ‘American Dream,’ the proof of marvelous potential,” he said. “National parks are considered one of America’s best ideas, and are owned by all of you. I am proud to help welcome you to US citizenship on our 50th anniversary here in the national memorial where we remember how one of our greatest Americans made himself and created a powerful future.”

Due to searing temperatures and high humidity, hydration safety was a top priority for the 40 plus staff and volunteers who helped put the program together. Collapsible, reusable water bottles sporting the park’s 50th anniversary logo were supplied by ENPMA at cost and were issued to staff to save the use of disposable water bottles. Teams kept them filled with ice water throughout the day. There were no medical incidents during the four-day event.

Additional pictures and comments are available on the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Facebook page.


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