February 12, 1984

Lincoln Day provides us with an opportunity to remember the life of a man widely admired for his beliefs and love for the people and the Union of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln guided his country through one of the most difficult periods of its history, when bloodshed decided whether two regions would remain united, or separate, because of unresolved differences. It was his belief that that struggle would ultimately determine the fate of democracy throughout the world. With a strong, patient, and sometimes weary hand, he led the American people from the most devastating war in our history to the pathway of greatness. Indeed, just as he envisioned, America remains the last, best hope for freedom in the world.

In the annals of every great nation there are leaders whose legacy will endure through the ages. Lincoln was one of those leaders. Generations have looked up to him as the man who not only preserved the Union, but helped us realize that true democracy is an evolving process. He once said the American Revolution ``was the germ which has vegetated, and still is to grow and expand into the universal liberty of mankind.'' Since his time our democratic system has evolved and made great strides in righting the wrongs that existed. Today, all of us have the chance to reap the rich benefits of liberty and opportunity. Lincoln would be proud of how far we have come. He would be pleased with this country and what its people stand for.

In this year of hope for a better future, may we remember his words to an army regiment in 1865: ``With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us . . . achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.'' Americans have good reason to celebrate the life of Abraham Lincoln. And as Republicans, we remember him as one of the founders of our Party -- the Party of peace, freedom, and equality for all.

Ronald Reagan