Letter to Representative Robert McClory of Illinois on the Occasion of Lincoln's Birthday.
When you represent me at the wreath laying ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial, I hope you will convey my best wishes to all who pay tribute to the leadership which this strong yet simple man brought to a divided nation over a century ago.
He was an open man, genuine, roughhewn and full of hope for America. His abiding faith in God and in the ultimate wisdom and goodness of the common people guided him all the years of his life and touched the soul of the land. His forthright and honest words sank deep into the understanding of every listener, and what he said of Henry Clay, a man he deeply admired, could well be applied to Lincoln himself:
He loved his country partly because it was his own country, but mostly because it was a free country; and he burned with a zeal for its advancement, prosperity and glory, because he saw in such, the advancement, prosperity and glory of human liberty, human right and human nature. He desired the prosperity of his countrymen partly because they were his countrymen, but chiefly to show to the world that freemen could be prosperous.
Now, one hundred and twenty years later, we work in a divided world to establish a peace to end all wars, and we seek to move America forward here at home bringing its people together and building a new and lasting prosperity. We need more than ever the qualities of Lincoln to inspire us and give us confidence to do our duty as we understand it, to serve America better so that America may better serve mankind.
[Honorable Robert McClory, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515]
Note: The letter, dated February 7, 1972, was released at Key Biscayne, Fla., on February 12.
Richard Nixon, Letter to Representative Robert McClory of Illinois on the Occasion of Lincoln's Birthday. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/255081