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Abraham Lincoln Sailors Commemorate 150th Anniversary of Namesake's Passing
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Danian Douglas salutes Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner after presenting him with a flag that was flown over President Abraham Lincoln's grave during a memorial service on the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination.

From USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- As the nation reflected on the passing of the 16th president of our nation, Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) participated in a variety of remembrance events in Illinois, Virginia and the nation's capital to commemorate their namesake's long-lasting legacy, April 13-15.

Nearly a dozen Sailors started the week of remembrance by participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Soldiers' Home in the nation's capital, April 13. The ceremony, coordinated by President Lincoln's Cottage was held to trace President Lincoln's last steps from the White House to the home for wounded Civil War soldiers.

On April 15, Sailors began the day lining the walkway in front of Ford's Theater to the Petersen house; facing re-enactors dressed in Civil War-era clothing lined the opposite walkway in commemoration of his passing.

Nearly 800 miles away in the "Home of Lincoln" other Sailors attended a remembrance ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in Springfield, Illinois. Sailors finalized the day in Norfolk by touring "Shooting Lincoln", a photography exhibit at the Chrysler Museum of Art.

"I found it fitting that today I was able to represent my country and ship in honoring President Lincoln amongst my fellow Illinoisans," Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Jeremy Crandall said. "Through today's activities, I believe our Sailors cemented an unending relationship with the Springfield community. I am proud to call myself a Sailor, but even prouder of the fact that I can count myself among the Sailors of USS Abraham Lincoln."

Carla Knorowski, CEO, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, coordinated the commemoration ceremony.

"History is important. This is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's passing, and though he is always relevant and close to the hearts of people all across America as well as all over the world. It is important to come together on this day not just to remember his death 150 years ago but to celebrate how he lived," Knorowski said.

During the ceremony in Springfield, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Danian Douglas presented a flag to Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. The flag will become a permanent part of the collection of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, as the official flag of the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's passing.

Tom Dreesen, comedian and U.S. Navy retiree, spoke at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation commemoration ceremony in Springfield and reflected on Lincoln's leadership skills.

"He wasn't afraid to risk, he wasn't afraid to stand up for what he knew was right, knowing it would divide a nation. He was a man of integrity and he knew what he stood for. If you're a true leader, you're a leader because you're not afraid to make decisions. Abraham Lincoln was a great leader because he made tough decisions," Dreesen said.

On April 14, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation to proclaim April 15 as a "Day of Remembrance for President Abraham Lincoln."

"I call upon all Americans to honor his life and legacy with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities," according to the citation. "President Lincoln believed in the fierce independence that lies at the heart of the American experience. But he also knew that together, we can do great things -- that it is through the accumulated toil and sacrifice of ordinary women and men that our country is perfected and our liberty preserved."

In honor of Lincoln's devotion to the nation, President Obama also directed that flags be flown at half-staff on the Day of Remembrance.

Alex Mann, Brock Curator of American Art, discussed the photos on exhibit at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk.

"These images of Lincoln were created during his presidency and printed on paper that is 150 years old," Mann said, adding that Lincoln was the most photographed American of his time. "People wanted to know what their leader looked like."

Damage Controlman 2nd Class Michael Everhart participated in ceremonies at Ford's Theater and reflected on the hundreds of people who came to remember the 16th president.

"It's an honor to represent our ship at this remembrance of Lincoln's life. It was breathtaking to see how many people showed up to honor his legacy and pay tribute to a man that changed our history books forever," Everhart said.

Inspired by retracing the footsteps of his ship's namesake, Personnel Specialist 1st Class Clay Drew, discussed being a part of a special moment in history.

"It's one thing to study the story of Lincoln in school, but to actually be a part of the celebration of his life and see the actual building and places he spent his last hours brings a whole new meaning to it all," Drew said.

Ship's Serviceman Seaman TeMarcus Jones discussed the pride he has for serving aboard USS Abraham Lincoln.

"We have had so many people come up to us today and thank us for being here to remember President Lincoln and represent his legacy as Sailors named for him," Jones said. "It makes me proud to serve aboard USS Abraham Lincoln knowing that he did so much to shape the country."

Lincoln is currently undergoing refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz class to undergo an RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone.

Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Evan Parker
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