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Celebrating America by bringing history to life

SPRINGFIELD -- History takes center-stage in the state capital every Fourth of July.
SPRINGFIELD - History takes center stage in the state capital every Fourth of July.
WCIA-3's Matt Porter shows us some of the people who help bring history to life.
 
Few have jobs like Randy Duncan who travels farther than most will ever dream. As a performer for Illinois's "History Comes Alive" campaign, Duncan travels through time becoming the nation's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.

"The more closely you look at him, the more you start to admire him," Duncan said. "People come from everywhere because of the mystique of Lincoln."

Duncan greets, sometimes surprised, hundreds of visitors each day.

"A little bit older children will say, 'I thought you were dead!' and it's like they're accusing me," he said.

Duncan's knowledge of Lincoln takes visitors inside the mind of the man who saved the union.

"The details are the important things," Duncan said, "That's what makes the story work."

He will guide visitors through historic moments in time, share intimate stories about the presidency, and even drop a few jokes because that's who Duncan said Linoln was.

"He'd be working towards the punchline and he'd be laughing, because he knew the punchline was coming," he said.

Ric Segovia is visiting from upstate and never imagined he'd come face-to-face with the state's most famous politician.

"That was probably the best part, having somebody actually walk us through the actual experiences," Segovia said.

Laura Barr, from Asheville, North Carolina, said it seemed only right to meet Lincoln in his own museum.

"I thought, 'Oh my gosh, we're in Springfield, Illinois, and Lincoln is here,'" Barr said.

Duncan thinks of every detail including how the 16th president would perceive the modern world around him.

"He's the only man in the room who doesn't know, everybody else knows. He's talking about the future," Duncan said, "And everybody else knows he's not going to be part of that future."

Duncan is just one of dozens of actors performing this summer at all of Springfield's historic landmarks.
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