- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2009

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama traveled to Ford’s Theatre on Wednesday night for a gala reopening celebration of the Washington venue where President Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865.

In his remarks on the eve of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, the current president said that Lincoln’s legacy was in fostering a “sense of unity” in the nation at a crucial moment.

“Despite all that divided us - North and South, black and white - he had an unyielding belief that we were, at heart, one nation and one people. And because of Abraham Lincoln, and all who´ve carried on his work in the generations since, that is what we remain today,” Mr. Obama said, according to prepared remarks released by the White House.

When the Obamas entered the theater to take their front-row seats, “Hail to the Chief” played as the crowd clapped enthusiastically.

In addition to a performance featuring Katie Couric, Kelsey Grammer and others at the theater, which has undergone an 18-month renovation project, the gala honored filmmaker George Lucas and actor Sidney Poitier.

The $50 million renovation project, during which the theater on 10th Street in Northwest was closed, gives the theater a modern lobby, comfier seats and modernized dressing rooms. The project also involves expanding an adjacent museum and creating a Center for Education and Leadership.

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