Why Abe?

How I got started doing Abraham Lincoln presentations.
I am frequently get asked how this fascination with Abraham Lincoln started.  Here's my story ...
I had always admired Abraham Lincoln, but had never given much thought to learning more of his life, nor had I ever considered being a Lincoln presenter until the summer of 1996.   Afriend needed an Abe Lincoln character for a humorous skit at his Cub Scout campout.  The skit was based on the movie, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, where several historical characters, including Lincoln, were brought forward in a time machine for a high school history report.   I promptly said, “Sure”, since I owed the friend a favor and it sounded interesting.

So I rented a Lincoln costume, trimmed my beard, memorized a short paragraph of Lincoln dialog from the movie and stepped out in a black top hat.   Although it was a just a comedy including the Lincoln line, “Party on Dudes!” this experience impacted me.

The following things from my few minutes as Lincoln in the fire-side skit compelled me to take a closer look at Lincoln's life ...

I was surprised at my strong resemblance to Lincoln even though most of my adult life I'd had a full beard, and on occasion I'd hear the joke of a Lincoln resemblance.

I was amazed at people's response to the character of Lincoln.  At the end of the skit, little attention was paid to any of the several other historical characters.  Not only the Scouts, but also their parents gathered around me.  They wanted to have their photo taken with Lincoln.  Most wanted to know if the beard was real and wanted to touch it.  One child exclaimed, "I thought you were dead!"

Previously, I had been active in Christian theatrical events in a small town in California.  Since moving to Colorado in 1994, I had no involvement and was open to potential doors that might open in that arena.

After the Scout experience, I checked out Lincoln books from the library to learn more of the 16th President, and kept waiting for the other "shoe-to-drop" so to speak; the lives of most historical characters have a number of negative aspects that often offset the good things that made them famous.  In my study, nearly all of the facets of Lincoln's life are virtuous and worthy of emulating and teaching to others.

I was among the awestruck crowd, a decade earlier, when a Lincoln presenter came and brought Abraham's character to life in our California church.  In late 1996, I prepared to start a similar effort.  I considered that helping the life of Abraham Lincoln to become real and sharing his principles of truth, perseverance, dedication, learning, liberty and patriotism especially to youth, could be a valuable tool.

My first serious Lincoln presentations began in February 1997.  Since then, I have continued to develop my working knowledge of Abraham Lincoln, as a historian and presenter.