Visions from the Civil War past appeared in Gresham, Oregon during the opening week of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” at the Regal Stark Street Stadium 10 cinema as a stove-pipe hatted Abraham greeted groups of high school history students and moviegoers in the movie theater lobby.
As part of the Oregon Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission’s outreach for the new historical drama that opened nationwide on November 16, 2012, Frank Krone spent two evenings in the persona of Lincoln, shaking hands, giving “Lincoln” pop-quizzes and posing for photos with the nearly “four score” Sam Barlow High School students who were attending the movie as a group with their American History instructor, Andrew Pate.
The Lincoln presenter was joined at the Regal Cinema on November 19 by East coast veteran Union reenactor Sathanuman Khalsa, who had set up a colorful display of replicated period flags and uniforms (including a copy of one worn by George Custer) that caught the attention of the teenaged boys.
Authentic reproductions of weaponry were displayed on a star-spangled table where assorted Lincolniana, reenactor equipage and a museum copy of the Emancipation Proclamation were popular items of interest.
Regal Entertainment Group invited the Oregon Civil War Sesquicentennial to participate in the general release of the acclaimed biopic starring Academy Award-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis in the titular role.
Gresham was selected for the special event because Oregon’s fourth-largest city was named after Civil War Brigadier General Walter Q. Gresham. In addition, Gresham’s nearby pioneer cemetery, Mountain-View Stark, holds the remains and military headstones of several Civil War veterans.
These war-weary veterans moved to Oregon after the war to start new lives, raise families and to contribute to the growth and prosperity of our newly minted state. It is estimated that over 20,000 Civil War veterans are buried in Oregon.
Steven Spielberg’s biopic on our 16th president has brought renewed interest to the national Civil War 150th Anniversary commemoration.
Oregonians have also been rediscovering the Civil War since April 2011 and are still learning about the many Oregon connections thanks to the efforts of organizations like the Oregon Civil War Sesquicentennial, the Sons of Union Veterans, Edward Baker Camp, the Oregon Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the Oregon Military Museum.
The students loved the “Lincoln” outreach event and they raved about Spielberg's movie. One student on his way out of the cinema stopped to gaze at the Zoauve uniform and then turned to flash a peace sign at Frank Krone, the Lincoln presenter. “Welcome back, Honest Abe, “ he called out over his shoulder. “It’s been too long!”