Thursday, September 07, 2006

Abraham Lincoln

I have always been fascinated by Abraham Lincoln. One of the few Items I still own from my childhood is a metal bust of Lincoln that was a given out by a local Bank. It has a place of honor in our home. In times of stress I read from Carl Sandburg's "Abraham Lincoln: The War Years". I am not a religious person so I gain strength from the knowledge my problems are very small compared to what Lincoln faced in holding the Union together during the Civil War. It has gotten me through the death of both of my parents. I love the picture above as it was the last known picture taken of Lincoln before he was assassinated. In a large clear picture you see the weariness and sadness in his eyes and the toll the war has taken on him. For many year I thought the Gettysburg Address was the best thing he wrote but in recent years I have been drawn to his Second Inaugural Address. Both are carved into the walls of the Lincoln Memorial.In his Second Inaugural Lincoln was attempting to deal with the terrible slaughter of the war when he said:
If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

One of my proudest accomplishments in life is I have transferred my interest in History and in particular Lincoln to our Son a graduate student in history. His undergraduate senior thesis was on Lincoln. The best present I ever gave him was Carl Sandburg's 6 volume set on Lincoln. As is usually the case he has become much more the student of Lincoln that I ever was and for that I am very proud.