Jacksonville Daily Progress
CHEROKEE COUNTY —
The Gipper and the Great Emancipator will be the focus of a special Saturday barbecue dinner and auction sponsored by Cherokee County's Republican Party.
The "Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner" – the national GOP's primary annual fundraising and celebration event – traditionally features a well-known speaker.
In the case of Cherokee County, the Saturday speaker will be Todd Staples, Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, according to a statement released by local GOP representative Jerry Ayers.
This 6:30 p.m. event will be held at Jacksonville's Norman Activity Center, 526 E. Commerce.
Special guests include District 11 State Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacog-doches, and Cherokee County Judge Chris Davis.
Staples was not immediately available to comment Wednesday, but Judge Davis said he greatly anticipates attending.
“I look forward to great evening and a chance to hear from our friend Commissioner Todd Staples and fellow Republicans,” Davis said. “It will be a great opportunity to get together, visit over issues concerning our state, and enjoy a great meal.”
Clardy, through a spokesman, said he also is excited about the dinner.
“I look forward to honoring two of the greatest American presidents in history, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan and to share Ronald Reagan’s 102nd birthday with the Cherokee County Republican Party.”
Also expected at the special dinner are U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas; State Senator Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville; and Cherokee County's 369th District Court Judge Bascom Bentley III.
The Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner cost $35 per couple and $20 per individual. Checks are payable to the Republican Party of Cherokee County, P.O. Box 1675, Jacksonville Texas 75766. Those who wish to purchase tickets can contact Ayers at (903) 339-6014.
Lincoln-Reagan Day traditionally is an annual affair held in February and March. Its Democrat counterpart – held around the same time every year – is the Jefferson-Jackson Day celebration.
It is named after Abraham Lincoln in his capacity as the first elected president of the Republican Party, although Ronald Reagan's name has been added in many locations following the Gipper's death in 2004.
The purpose of this is to honor Reagan and modernizing the Republican Party's message.
Commenting on the issue in 2005, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said, "We don’t do Lincoln Day Dinners in South Carolina. It’s nothing personal, but it takes a while to get over things."
Graham was referencing the fact that Lincoln's election led to the secession of South Carolina and other states.
President Lincoln – who was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, as the American Civil War was drawing to a close – was famous for his wit, philosophy and overall mental acuity.
"America will never be destroyed from the outside," Lincoln was known to have said. "If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
President Reagan, meanwhile, inspired Republicans of several generations with his command of words, his confidence in the American Way, and his opposition to the forces that would erode freedom.
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction," Reagan said more than once. "We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."