One score and five years ago bearded Lance Mack shaved off his mustache. When he looked at his shorn upper lip he immediately realized that the face staring back at him wasn’t his anymore- it was the face of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. His first thought was “now what…?”.
At the urging of his wife, Maureen, tall and gangly Mack ventured to Civil War Days at Crossroads Village near Flint, MI. Stovepipe hatless and without a Lincolnesque suit, Mack was greeted by festival-goers with a hearty “Howdy, Abe!”, or a sincere, respectful “Good Afternoon, Mister President”. Union soldier reenactors came to attention and saluted as he approached. The event organizers noticed Mack, who at 6’5″ overtopped the crowd, and asked him to speak. Hearkening back to fifth grade, Mack began speaking, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Since then Mack has performed as Abraham Lincoln, complete with hat and suit, at hundreds of events. He speaks in Lincoln’s own words and uses portions of Lincoln’s autobiographical essays, his farewell speech to Springfield, Illinois, his first Inaugural Address, The Gettysburg Address, The Letter to Mrs. Bixby, and the second Inaugural Address. When asked about his personal favorite Lincoln quote, Mack had a tough time narrowing it down to just one, but he did decide on the words that first thrust Lincoln onto the national stage. “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.”
Mack’s journeys as Lincoln have taken him throughout the Midwest, to New York City and Boston, and even to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. One of his favorite events is the Lincoln Highway Bridge Festival held annually in Tama, IA.
2016 will mark his first appearance at Old Settlers Day in Waynesville, MO.