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State Senator Andy Dinniman has announced his appointment to the Pennsylvania Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, a body assembled by Gov. Ed Rendell to honor one of our most revered presidents.

Dinniman on Tuesday said he was excited to be named to the commission, which will organize a number of events statewide for 2009, the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth on Feb. 12, 1809.

 “Abraham Lincoln was one of our most important and greatest presidents, and much of what we remember him for happened right here in Pennsylvania,” Dinniman said. “Being both a great admirer of President Lincoln and a student of Pennsylvania history, I’m naturally looking forward to helping decide how our state should pay tribute to this great man.”

Dinniman will be joined on the commission by the governor and other officials from throughout Pennsylvania, including the president of Gettysburg College and the executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

The Pennsylvania commission will work in concert with national effort underway to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

The commission will be based in Gettysburg, the site of Lincoln’s famous speech in which he paid tribute to the soldiers who died for “a new birth of freedom” and for the concept of “government of the people, by the people, for the people … .”

Dinniman noted how the story of Lincoln in Pennsylvania extends to a Borough of West Chester building just a few yards from his office at 1 North Church Street.

The Lincoln Building at 28 West Market Street in West Chester was where Republican newspaperman Samuel Downing published the Chester County Times. The Times, on Feb. 11, 1860, printed what’s considered the first biographical sketch of then-presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, a sketch that was republished throughout newspapers along the East Coast and nationwide. Historians say Lincoln credited his nomination and election to the publication of this short biographical sketch.

“I and my fellow commission members will work hard to design tributes worthy of one of our greatest presidents,” Dinniman said.