Abraham Lincoln memorial statue. Public domain photo via Pixabay.

The 26th annual Abraham Lincoln Remembrance will be held Monday at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood, featuring the reciting of the Gettysburg Address by actor Kevin Dobson.

The program on the 209th anniversary of the birth of the 16th president will be held from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and include a variety of music provided by UCLA music faculty and Brentwood School, according to cemetery director Thomas M. Ruck.

The event began in 1993 when the late retired television lighting technician Duke Russell learned there was no celebration planned in Los Angeles for Lincoln’s birthday and went to the Hollywood Bowl to deliver the Gettysburg Address in front of his daughter, Los Angeles Times columnist Jack Smith and an otherwise empty facility.

Russell “really loved Lincoln’s mind and the many remarkable things that Abe accomplished in his life and all of that began with books,” actress Gigi Perreau, a past master of ceremonies for the remembrance, said in a 2017 interview with City News Service.

“Lincoln led the nation through its darkest hour and remains one of the most inspirational men in history,” Perreau said. “He rose from poverty and educated himself simply by reading as much as he could and often as he could.”

Russell died in 2015 at the age of 89.

The remembrance has been held at the Los Angeles National Cemetery since 1994. Actors Charlton Heston, Hal Holbrook, Mickey Rooney and Michael York, comedian Steve Allen, author Ray Bradbury and former Mayor Richard Riordan have been among those reciting the Gettysburg Address.

—City News Service

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