September 19, 2009
George McGovern coming to Homer
Former U.S. senator to speak about Lincoln Sept. 29 during village celebration of 16th president
HOMER — A famous politician who recently published a book about Abraham Lincoln will soon visit Homer and extend the village’s festivities to celebrate and teach people about the sixteenth president.
George McGovern, 87, a former United States senator and Democratic presidential nominee, will discuss his book “Abraham Lincoln.”
The free event, titled “A Conversation with George McGovern on Abraham Lincoln,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 29 in Homer Intermediate School’s Bonne Auditorium.
The event will be part of Homer’s 2009 Lincoln in Paint and Print celebration, which has been endorsed as one of the official activities of the United States Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
Lincoln was born on Feb 12, 1809, and the 200th anniversary of his birthday is being celebrated in places across the country throughout the year.
The majority of Lincoln in Paint and Print was held in May, when most of the festivities focused on three Homer natives who worked directly with Lincoln: Francis B. Carpenter, an artist who painted Lincoln and his Cabinet members in “The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation Before the Cabinet;” William Stoddard, a journalist who became a secretary to Lincoln; and Eli DeVoe, a detective who informed Lincoln of a group’s plot to kill him in Baltimore.
The primary organizers of Lincoln in Paint and Print were Homer Town Supervisor Martin Sweeney and Marathon High School art teacher David Quinlan.
“The celebration seems to have great staying power, and people began to realize in May that Homer does have a legitimate connection to Lincoln,” Sweeney said.
Cathy Bertini, a long-time acquaintance of McGovern, helped to bring him to Homer for the event, Martin said.
Bertini is the former head of the United Nations World Food Program and a public administration professor at Syracuse University
Bud Jermy, a former village historian in Homer, is organizing the Sept. 29 event where McGovern will speak.
McGovern’s book about Lincoln was published by Times Books/Henry Holt and Company as part of the company’s series on American Presidents.
In choosing McGovern to write the book, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., an editor for the publishing company, determined that Lincoln’s life had been examined by historians, political scientists, journalists, poets and politicians, but never by a former president or someone who sought the presidency, according to a news release issued by the event’s organizers.
McGovern served as a U.S. senator from South Dakota from 1963 to 1981 and ran for president as the Democratic Party’s nominee in the 1972 election. He lost to the incumbent, Richard Nixon.
During World War II, McGovern served in the U.S. Army and went on 35 combat missions as a B-24 bomber pilot in Europe, according to the McGovern Center of Leadership and Public Service’s Web site.
He holds a Ph.D. in American history and government from Northwestern University.
After leaving the Senate in 1980, McGovern was a visiting professor at numerous institutions, including Columbia University, Northwestern University, Cornell University, American University and the University of Berlin, according to the McGovern Center.
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