|In defense of the Union - the Mifflin Guard in front of the League House.|
|Huge Lincoln ballroom crowd for Governor Chris Christie.|
|The Union League - forever faithful to the words, spirit and legacy of Lincoln and the Union.|
|The ladies of the Union, in period outfits.|
|Wreath-laying at the site of Lincoln's famous speech at Independence Hall.|
|A day for stovepipe hats and overcoats.|
|"President Lincoln" delivers the Gettysburg Address from the front of the League House as League officers look on.|
That's the day when the League celebrates its hero, President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln Day is always held on or close to President Lincoln's actual birthday of February 12.
The grand old League House sits in the shadow of City Hall on Broad Street in Philadelphia. On Lincoln Day it is festooned with the colors of our glorious republic. Flags and red, white and blue bunting abounds and the League showcases its Lincolnalia.
It's a day of pride and pageantry -- a day when the League's motto ("Love of Country Leads) comes to life.
Founded in 1862 as a patriotic society to support the Union and the policies of President Abraham Lincoln, the Union League laid the philosophical foundation of other Union Leagues across a nation torn by Civil War.
In the 21st century, the Union League is home for over 3,200 members who contribute to club life and who keep alive the League’s traditions. As they did in 1862, today’s members represent the Philadelphia region’s leaders in business, education, religion, the arts and culture.
This year, New Jersey's fearless Governor Chris Christie received the League's prestigious Lincoln Award. Christie, was presented with a miniature statue of Abraham Lincoln. He was hailed by the League members for his corruption-busting as U.S. attorney and as a straight-speaking, budget-cutting governor who has seized the imagination of the nation.
Previous recipients of the Lincoln Award include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Gen. David Petraeus, who commands American forces in Afghanistan.
The great Lincoln Ballroom at the League was filled to capacity for Governor Christie and adjoining rooms were also filled to overflowing. Christie received the rapt attention of not only our table but every other table in the grand space. Of course, the League has welcomed many notable guest speakers including virtually every Republican president of the past 149 years. Yes, the League celebrates a year-long 150th anniversary next year.
These photos give you some idea of the sights and sounds of Lincoln Day at the League.
Tomorrow, we'll have more on Lincoln Day and Christie's remarks and we'll also dedicate the entire day (right here) to the inspiring words, images, life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln.
All photos copyright 2011 by Dan Cirucci.