Commemorate Mother's Day at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

A Mother's Day celebration will be held this weekend at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, where President Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, is buried. Photo by Sidd Webb via flickr.

If you're near Lincoln City, Indiana, this weekend, you might want to swing by the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial to mark Mother's Day.

After all, Abraham Lincoln often credited his mother, Nancy Hanks, and stepmother, Sarah Bush Johnston, for helping shape his character, foster his education and instill in him the values that led him to become president and one of the most respected leaders of the world. The Mother's Day events at the memorial will help kick off a multi-year celebration in Indiana to mark the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth, which falls on February 12th, 2009.

President Lincoln spent 14 formative years of his life in the town that now carries his name. The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial preserves the site of the farm where Lincoln lived from the ages of 7 to 21. It includes a living-history farm, visitors center museum, and the gravesite of Lincoln’s mother. When she passed away, the then 9-year-old future president helped his father dig a grave and bury her. Abraham Lincoln’s sister, Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, who also died during Lincoln’s years in Indiana, is buried at nearby Lincoln State Park.

“The honesty, leadership and determination that shaped Abraham Lincoln’s legacy were formed during his youth in the Hoosier state, making this a fitting tribute not only to the former president, but to the women in his life who helped him succeed,” says Connie Nass, chairperson of the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

While visitors are welcome at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial 362 days a year, the events taking place over Mother’s Day weekend make May 10 and 11 an especially good time to visit. Here's a schedule of this weekend's events:

Saturday, May 10
The public is invited to observe various activities throughout the weekend. A Civil War encampment, Native American encampment, black powder rifle shooting contest and frontier medicine demonstrations will take place at Lincoln State Park, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and Buffalo Run Farm.

As part of the weekend, more than 3,600 Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky are expected to participate, along with their leaders and parents, in a two-night campout at Lincoln State Park.

On Saturday, at 9 a.m., the scouts will raise The Garrison Flag to the top of a 120-foot flagpole at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. And later a scout bike trek will retrace the route the Lincolns took once they arrived in Indiana by flatboat.

In addition, there will be a display of quilts made in patterns of the Underground Railroad in Nancy Hanks Lincoln Hall at the memorial’s visitors center. A quilters group called the Piece Makers from Spencer County, Indiana, sewed all 20 quilts.

It costs $10 for a wrist bracelet that will get you into these events. The bracelets can be purchased at the parking area at Heritage Hills High School at the corner of CR 1600 and SR 162 in Lincoln City.

Sunday, May 11 (Mother’s Day)
A special ceremony will take place on Mother’s Day. This event is free and open to the public, though tickets are required for reserved seating. Tickets must be reserved in advance by calling the Spencer County Visitors Bureau at 888-444-9252.

Beginning at 1 p.m. CDT, the Red Bank Reunion Band will play Civil War-era music in period military costume. The Lincoln Bicentennial Mother’s Day Celebration ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. CDT and include music, a drama performance, speakers and a wreath-laying ceremony.

• Wreath-laying ceremony. A wreath will be laid at the foot of each of the five panels of the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Visitors Center building. Four of the panels represent where Lincoln lived – Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Washington, D.C.; the fifth panel commemorates the heritage Lincoln left to the men and women of all time.
• Musical performances. Indiana resident, singer and music teacher Shelia S. Billings will perform a song about Lincoln’s mother titled, “Nancy Hanks.” Celebration Singers, a multi-county Southern Indiana choir, will sing patriotic music.
• Original drama performance. Using the words of Lincoln and his stepmother, Sarah Bush Johnston, a 10-minute drama will feature student actors from the nationally acclaimed Department of Theater at the University of Evansville. The presentation was written by University of Evansville Drama Professor R. Scott Lank.

The Mother’s Day Celebration is the second of five national signature events created by the National Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. It also serves as the state-wide Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration kick-off for the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which was created in 2006 by the Indiana General Assembly to commemorate America’s greatest president and showcase his Hoosier roots.