Moonday’s Heroic Hunk in History is ABRAHAM LINCOLN who declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. While most folks wouldn’t think of Abe as a heroic hunk, early pictures tell a different story. Most photos that are published are from his later life during his presidential years. After the loss of his beloved son, the stress of dealing with the conduct and ravages of the Civil War, and—according to some—the possibility of suffering from a degenerative disease, he aged beyond his years.
According to his own description about the time he became President (1860), Lincoln was 6’4” tall and weighed 180 pounds with dark hair and gray eyes. Although the photographic techniques of the day made him appear ungainly, he was considered very strong. He could still hold a long axe with one hand straight out at shoulder level when he was 49. An attendant at the time described Lincoln as the most physically powerful man he had ever seen. Two daguerreotypes picture Lincoln as a young man. Compare the photos from 1860 with the one from 1865.
In 1863 Abe issued a Presidential proclamation that Thanksgiving a national holiday and set the date as the final Thursday in November. Prior to his proclamation, Thanksgiving was observed on dates determined by the individual states. Sarah Josepha Hale spent 40 years campaigning for the national celebration. In 1941 Congress legislated and President Roosevelt signed into law a bill that made Thanksgiving an official holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
So think of Lincoln when you’re scarfing your turkey and fixings this Thursday. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
Next Moonday, the first of three generations of American founders. Rita Bay