A Time for Celebration; A Time for Grieving

150 years ago at this time, the American Civil War was all but over, General Lee having surrendered to General Grant just a few days prior to this date. The Union, it seemed, was saved. Years of bloodshed that tore the nation, states, communities, and even families apart were finally and completely behind.

A sigh of relief.

A chance to relax, even if just a little.

Our American Cousin.

Our President.

Someone still fighting, and a single shot.

……………..

Is it strange that I am in mourning today?  Two hours from right now will mark exactly 150 years since the discharge of a pistol was heard in Ford’s Theatre. It will mark a beginning of Abraham Lincoln’s final night in this world. By mid-morning he would be no more.

Yet he lives today.

I have been to Ford’s, the White House in which Lincoln served the nation, statehouse where he served the people of Illinois, and his home in Springfield. I have been to his grave. I have walked through reproductions of his early life and childhood. I feel like I knew him.

Is it strange?

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Talking About Blooms, Lanterns, Suffixes and Agains

2015 resolution #8 was less time on Facebook, and so far I am succeeding wonderfully. However, I seem to have filled the newly available time with WordPress. I think it will reduce once blogging class ends in a couple more weeks. I have been writing nearly every day, partly to build up a number of posts so my visitors have more than a couple of choices. But there is a Seinfeldian feel to my posts so far–I am kind of blogging about nothing. But right now it’s about me getting back into the habit of writing, not about earning a million followers.

Today I perused several blogs that I follow and a couple that I had not yet followed, looking for interesting posts on which to comment. This was all about not being selfish, and letting other people know that what they are writing matters. Because it certainly does.

I enjoy reading about other people’s thoughts on places I’ve been, or things that I like. My first stop was There Goes Casey, because she planted a picture of flowers at the top of my Reader. Seeing that the picture was taken during a trip to San Diego, where I have also been, reeled me in. I have not seen enough beauty in the world lately, and flowers are beautiful, so I told Casey I appreciated her post. I also mentioned it was nice to see something good in Southern California. My experiences there had been less than great.

I then returned to another blog that I follow but had not yet commented on: justme0486, where I read that Michael Xavier’s heart is always lighting lanterns for his love to find him. Michael is not justme0486, that’s Rose. But Rose is not really Rose, and I understand completely. I told her that her blog inspires me, and she has since insisted that she doesn’t mean to be an inspiration, only herself. When you are a good person, being yourself is all it takes.

Next I hit up KPKworld, skipping the ruminations and balderdash and going straight to Kevin’s latest post about Scrabble. 5,000 new words in the most recent version of the Official Scrabble Player’s Dictionary, and he already identified all of them. I told him I was impressed with that, and discussed the topic of said post, words ending in the suffix -INGS. Or is it two suffixes? At any rate, the addition of a lot of words that fit that description means that I see a lot of hookings in my future! On second thought: A hook in Scrabble means the connection of one word to the end of another, but I’m thinking that the word HOOKINGS in the OSPD5 means something else entirely.

Finally, tonight I visited a site I had not even seen yet, Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl, and read about an upcoming event in the Illinois capital. It seems that President Lincoln has died again, and the funeral procession will be reenacted in his hometown, Springfield, for the 150th anniversary of the occasion. I mentioned to the farmer’s wife that I had just been to Springfield last summer and wished I could return for this event. Then I explored some more of her site, and found a post about Tara. While the novel Gone with the Wind had begun and ended the American Civil War again, the film by the same name told the book’s story again, and my comment on this post was that there was no comparison between the two tellings. I then asked her if she knew that there were plans to build the movie-set Tara again. There are, as NBC News reports, and now I have shared that link again.

I hope you have enjoyed my post about posts; my long comment about comments, and that maybe you will click one or more of those links. But don’t feel like you have to. And comments on all of this are, of course, at your discretion.

Only 999,987 follwers to go!

Oak Ridge Cemetery
Image

Paying Respects to Abraham Lincoln

I attempted today to write to a separate category, for my dream reader, on the subject of one of the travels I have taken. It became a much more daunting task than I expected, and I found myself trying to decipher a new form of web design instead of writing. So here I refocus the attempt into one aspect of last summer’s road trip: My walk through the tomb of a tremendous American president.

Obelisk rising into sky.

The obelisk atop the tomb, from the west side.

So, reader, rather than inspire you to visit Springfield, Illinois, by blandly retracing my own steps through it and sharing information that you can easily find elsewhere on the web, I call out to you my most endearing moment of the trip, and let that alone stand as reason to see the town.

SILENCE



RESPECT

So reads the sign between the parking lot and Lincoln’s tomb. Tourist attraction, yes, but it is also a final resting place–of an entire family–among the final resting places of many other souls nearby, and deserved of quiet observation. Not play; not cell phone calls. Silence and respect. That is before you even go inside.

There is a bronze bust outside that begs you to take a moment for a lucky rub of the nose, a photo op that cannot be missed. But once inside, selfies should cease. Our cameras clicked away only at the many sculpture originals and reproductions that ring the corridors of the monument, and took a solemn image at the family crypt and the grave of the President.

•••

During a 2010 vacation in our nation’s capital, we took a walking tour along the route of the investigation immediately following Lincoln’s assassination. For me, it was one of the highlights of our whole vacation. But after that experience of the plot to end his life, and my reading the events of his final weeks in Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln last year, our first two days in Springfield were about getting to know the man that he was. Doing so brought a feeling of attachment; a personal connection to an enormous historical figure. By the time we reached the Lincoln Tomb, silence and respect were not a problem.

Sculptures.

One corner of the inner corridor. A replica of Chicago’s Lincoln Park statue, and Lincoln “The Circuit Rider,” original to tomb.

Each of the sculptures inside had a title and, if reproduced, a location of the original. His likeness is represented well across the country, and even in Westminster Abbey. Just inside the entrance is a small-scale version of the seated president we saw years earlier on the National Mall in DC. The others depict his many occupations in life, from circuit rider and lawyer, to militia man, debater, and legislator. In the center of the monument sits the vault containing Mary, Tad, Willie and Eddie, and a marker honoring Robert, who is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Across from the four lies the grave of Abraham Lincoln, and it couldn’t be more fitting in its glory.

Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865

Lincoln’s grave.

There are stories about how many times the President’s sarcophagus was opened–mostly to verify that he was actually inside it–and that he was embalmed multiple times. Finally he was placed 10 feet below the ground, encased in wire and cement, never to be touched again. You are allowed no closer than ten feet away from the base of his marble marker. But even at this distance, I felt close. I paid my respects. Rest in peace, Mr. President.

Today, you are my dream reader.

NOW HE BELONGS TO THE AGES