Although Washington, D.C. has had an unusually harsh winter, there are signs of warmer weather ahead, and the increasing number of tourists implies that spring is almost here. While walking to work in the mornings, I am still amazed by the buildings that comprise our nation's capital city. These buildings provide not only tourist destinations but represent the foundation of our American government. One of the most popular places for tourists is the awe-inspiring Lincoln Memorial, along the Potomac.
Perched at the end of the National Mall facing east toward the Capitol Building, this national monument celebrates the immense achievements of President Abraham Lincoln at a time of incredible uncertainty in this country. Not only was the determination for a better nation a successful accomplishment produced and established in President Lincoln's lifetime, it has had long lasting effects on many generations: past, present and future.
President Lincoln was a man who sometimes stood alone in his beliefs, but his strong convictions represent many of the ideals we as Americans have come to admire and emulate even today. Lincoln was a man who stood for freedom and fairness as well as unification of the United States of America, promoting a sense of nationalism into Americans that continues today. He was also the individual deemed responsible for the foundation of today's Republican Party, which welcomes all people, regardless of race or culture.
Across the state of Idaho, people will be gathering for numerous Lincoln Days events to pay tribute to this great American. While a partisan tone is present at many of these celebrations, it is important to focus on the fact that such events are a chance for neighbors to come together as friends, and as communities to discuss events and celebrate achievements.
I always look forward to Lincoln Days because it's an opportunity for me to get back to the state, meet with numerous constituents and join in their gatherings which pay tribute to the achievements of President Lincoln. Whether its speaking to students at Nampa Charter School or greeting people at the Lincoln Day luncheon in Burley, I delight in the opportunity to join Idahoans in these festivities. I will also be spending time at O'Leary Junior High School, where I have the privilege of speaking at a ceremony honoring students in the Twin Falls area for their participation in the Congressional Award program.
The students being recognized have been active in their community, working to improve life for others. They reflect the efforts of Lincoln in encouraging compassion for the greater good, and their accomplishments as individuals speak volumes. Lincoln's inspiration still applies today, reaching all of us on an personal level as we ask ourselves the reoccurring question: what kind of difference can we as individuals do to make our nation stronger? The contributions we make, large or small, form the foundations for strong and productive communities.
On a daily basis we are surrounded by inspirational institutions people, monuments and buildings that are constant reminders of the achievements we can contribute on an individual level. The Lincoln Memorial exemplifies President Lincoln's standards. The monument provides a place for us to join together to celebrate as a nation while still providing the inspiration for strength and the continuation of the passion of his vision. President Lincoln was an ordinary man who was tasked with an extraordinary challenge. His commitment to this country is still visible today, not just in marble, but in the hearts of millions of Americans.