Tonight at 6 o'clock at the Great Boars of Fire Lodge in Anna, Ill., an energetic group of historic preservationists will kick off an ambitious fund drive to commemorate the Lincoln-Douglas debate held in what is now Lincoln Memorial Park just north of the roundabout on Highway 146 that goes through the heart of town. The sesquicentennial of that debate will be in September 2008.
The group hopes to raise at least $100,000 to pay for statues of Abe Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, who held a series of debates in Illinois while running for the U.S. Senate in 1858. The debates gave Lincoln enough national prominence to win the presidency two years later.
Anyone interested in attending tonight's kickoff dinner needs to make reservations (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (618) 833-8745). Dr. John Y. Simon from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale will be the speaker.
This group is to be commended for its interest in preserving and calling attention to Anna's role in so important a part of our nation's history.