Program connecting Lincoln, World War I to be held Saturday in Norwich

Norwich — Connections between Civil War President Abraham Lincoln and World War I will be explored in a lecture Saturday at City Hall.

Retired Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank J. Williams will speak to the role Lincoln’s memory played in the first World War at 4 p.m. Saturday in Room 335 at City Hall, 100 Broadway, Norwich. After the discussion, a newly discovered bronze plaque of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address will be unveiled and dedicated.

“This will complement the oil portrait of Abraham Lincoln, and the 1860 Lincoln Banner on display in City Hall,” Mayor Peter Nystrom said of the plaque, which was discovered stored in a closet at the Buckingham Memorial Building on Main Street, former home of Civil War Gov. William A. Buckingham.

A $15 donation is requested for the Saturday program to benefit the restoration of Norwich’s World War I Memorial, a captured German howitzer.

Williams is a noted scholar of Abraham Lincoln. He co-founded the Lincoln Forum, which meets annually in Gettysburg, Penn. He also is the author of several works on Lincoln, including “Judging Lincoln” and “Lincoln as Hero.” He served on the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, and as president of the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

As World War I was raging in Europe in 1914, work began on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and continued until the dedication of the monument in 1922. Lincoln’s memory and words frequently were cited during the war, City Historian Dale Plummer said.

“Many Americans saw our involvement in World War I as an expression of the ideals of liberty and freedom so eloquently spoken by Lincoln,” Plummer said.

Plummer is chairman of the Norwich World War I Memorial Committee. Lincoln was invoked in recruiting posters for African-Americans during the war and he was quoted on posters supporting the war effort, Plummer said.

For more information and reservations, please contact the mayor’s office at (860) 823 3743.

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