Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Remember When Wednesday: President Obama Goes to Springfield

In honor of last night's State of the Union, I thought I would share with you our trip to Springfield, Illinois two years ago where we heard President Obama speak as this week's Remember When Wednesdays feature.

A close family friend, Gary, is a donor to the Lincoln Foundation, which operates the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.  As such, he was invited to the bicentennial celebration of Lincoln's birth in Springfield.  President Obama was the guest speaker and guest of honor, since he too had ties to Illinois politics.  Gary was generous enough to secure two additional tickets for J and I to attend!

Gary is pictured below in the Lincoln Museum--can you spot him among the Lincoln family?

We stayed at the Abraham Lincoln hotel and attended a luncheon earlier that day which sought to answer the question of when (and where and why) Lincoln the young attorney became such a strong abolitionist.  We then dressed and met our party in the lobby to take the shuttle to the Crowne Plaza hotel where the dinner and speech were set to take place.  

After we went through security (which took a lot longer than expected because my brother who was unable to attend was also on the list and they thought we were married so they wouldn't give me my ticket initially), we sat down and got ready for the festivities.  Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood (from Peoria and a friend of my grandparents) introduced President Obama via video conference from Washington.  

A group of re-enactors dressed in Civil War uniforms served as the color guard and lead the national anthem.  Right before President Obama came on stage, they quickly placed the Presidential seal on the podium.

Before (without seal)
During (with seal)
The speech was well written and well delivered, something President Obama has become known for.  The whole time I was pinching myself because I could hardly believe I was witnessing a live speech delivered by the current President!  Regardless of one's political affiliation, there is something magical about the fact that on the 200th birthday of President Lincoln, who worked to free the slaves, an African-American President was delivering the address.  I do not think Lincoln in his wildest dreams would have imagined that it would be so!

Dinner was served after the speech and was absolutely delicious.  I especially liked the chocolate cheesecake they served with a copper dusted chocolate Lincoln penny on top at the end.  Notice the date on the coin: 1909, which coincided with the centennial of Lincoln's birth.

The next day we were given a private tour of the Lincoln Presidential Library and vault and had breakfast with some rather famous people, but that is another story for another day!

Happy Wednesday, friends!


  1. THat sounds like so much fun!! And I'm a little obsessed with that cake though.... I need to find whatever mold they used. hahahaha

  2. Gina: The cheesecake was really good, covered in chocolate ganache and then the chocolate about chocolate heaven!

  3. KT,
    I'm catching up on your blog today. That cheesecake looks amazing.

  4. Wohoo that cheesecake looked SO good.

    But most importantly, WOW what an amazing experience!!!Live speech by the president!!


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