Lincoln group's odyssey begins Tuesday

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By The Staff

A pioneer-era flatboat will set off Tuesday from Rockport en route to New Orleans in honor of President Abraham Lincoln's upcoming 200th birthday.

The public is invited to attend a send-off ceremony for Lincoln's Journey of Remembrance at 11 a.m. along the Ohio Riverfront below the bluff in Rockport.

The program will include a keynote address by Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock and musical performances.

Lincoln lived in Indiana from the ages of 7 to 21 and the journey will cover parts of eight states and more than 20 towns along the way to New Orleans. The upcoming journey replicates one the young Lincoln took from Rockport to New Orleans.

This journey actually is the second re-enactment of Lincoln's voyage from Rockport to New Orleans. In 1958, for the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, the Rockport Jaycees Club constructed a similar flatboat and made the same journey to New Orleans. The send-off ceremony will include a special tribute to the members of the '58 crew.

The flatboat, which measures 60 feet long and weighs in at 50,000 pounds, will make its first stop at English Park in Owensboro, Ky., Tuesday afternoon. Other tri-state stops include Evansville, Henderson, Ky., and Mount Vernon.

Lincoln's Journey of Remembrance is a joint effort by members of the Spencer County Visitors Bureau, Spencer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Think Lincoln Inc. and the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. The flatboat is owned by Ron Drake, an attorney and former Indiana state legislator who represents disabled children in Washington, D.C.

Both Lincoln's mother and sister are buried in Spencer County, where there are a number of sites people can visit to learn more about the life of the 16th president including Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, Lincoln State Park, Lincoln Amphitheater, Col. Jones Home, Lincoln Pioneer Village and Buffalo Run Farm

Those interested in keeping up with the journey as it happens can visit an online blog at www. LincolnsJourney.org, where photos, video and other updates will be posted daily.

For more information, people may call (888) 444-9252 or e-mail thinklincoln@psci.net.