The first Abraham Lincoln Remembrance Day since 2020 will be held Sunday at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood, featuring a recitation of the Gettysburg Address by a Lincoln tribute artist.
The program on the 214th anniversary of the birth of the 16th president will begin at 10 a.m. and also include an appearance by a Mary Todd Lincoln tribute artist.
The ceremony is organized by the Los Angeles National Cemetery Support Foundation, which encourages all to attend, particularly students and teachers to be reminded that Lincoln utilized reading to rise from poverty and to learn more about the cemetery, which opened in 1889.
Abraham Lincoln Remembrance Day 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 was held annually at the Los Angeles National Cemetery from 1994 through 2020. It was canceled the past two years because of the coronavirus pandemic. Actors Charlton Heston, Hal Holbrook, Mickey Rooney, Michael York and Kevin Dobson, comedian Steve Allen, author Ray Bradbury and former Mayor Richard Riordan have been among those reciting the Gettysburg Address during the event.