The 25th annual Abraham Lincoln Remembrance was held Sunday at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in Westwood, featuring the reciting of the Gettysburg Address by actor James McEachin.
The program on the 208th anniversary of the birth of the 16th president also included a performance of early American songs Lincoln enjoyed, according to event chairman Jack De Merit.
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, went to the Hollywood Bowl and delivered 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,” said actress Gigi Perreau, who served as the event’s master of ceremonies.
“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.”
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 Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan were among those reciting the Gettysburg Address.