President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were present as the Ford’s Theatre Society honored the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln at its Annual Gala earlier this month. They joined a tradition going back more than 40 years, as the Society has hosted this bi-partisan event, which provides crucial support to the non-profit’s theatrical and education programs.
“Lincoln believed fervently in the Union: a country that was more united by our commonalities than divided by differences,” said Paul R. Tetreault, director of Ford’s Theatre Society. “Since Ford’s reopened in 1968, it has been a venue where people on both sides of the aisle can come together to find common ground, and our annual gala has traditionally been attended by representatives throughout the various branches of government. Every president since Jimmy Carter has attended a Ford’s Theatre gala, and the recognition of our leaders and the enduring support of our donors enable us to share the story of Lincoln’s legacy with more than 650,000 on-site visitors a year and many more around the world online.”
Other notable attendees included Vice President Mike Pence and Mrs. Karen Pence; and numerous dignitaries including: Senators Roy Blunt, Bob Corker, Richard Durbin, Lindsey Graham, Patrick Leahy and Ed Markey; House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Representatives Debbie Dingell and Peter Roskam; Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson; Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao; Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross; and Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin.
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Lincoln Medal to Peyton W. Manning and Ronald O. Perelman, who, through their body of work, accomplishments and personal attributes, were said to exemplify the lasting legacy of Abraham Lincoln.
The gala performances included “Americans, That’s Who” by Larry Gatlin, “Good Girl Down” by Angaleena Presley, “Wheels of a Dream” from Ragtime performed by Kevin McAllister and Nova Y. Payton, ”First Try” and “Home” by Johnnyswim, “Say a Prayer” by Ricky Skaggs, ”Change the World” by Gordon Kennedy and Ricky Skaggs, and the words of Abraham Lincoln spoken by David Selby. The performance also featured the Soldiers’ Chorus of the United States Army Field Band. The performance was followed by a seated dinner at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum (750 Ninth Street NW).
*Lead image credit Getty Images. All others courtesy Ford’s Theatre Society