15
Apr
15

150th anniversary

Today is the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809–April 15, 1865). He was shot by John Wilkes Booth the night before; by 7:00 am the next day he was dead.

You would think that after all this time, we would have gotten over it as a nation. But I would submit to you that we have only gotten used to the unfortunate events in our history that have followed Lincoln’s murder.

I think America would have become a more thoughtful and compassionate nation—more understanding and tolerant of the ambiguities, uncertainties, and disappointments of the world—had he lived.

Sociologist Barry Schwartz argues that in the 1930s and 1940s, the memory of Abraham Lincoln was practically sacred and provided the nation with “a moral symbol inspiring and guiding American life.” During the Great Depression, he argues, Lincoln served “as a means for seeing the world’s disappointments, for making its sufferings not so much explicable as meaningful.”

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“Now he belongs to the ages.”

— Edwin M. Stanton

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In his own words:

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”
“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
“The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.”
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۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Andy Williams performing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

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Weather Report

76° and Clear


3 Responses to “150th anniversary”


  1. 1 matt
    April 15, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    After talking of Lincoln’s legacy with one of my correspondents, I sent “O Captain, My Captain” in my next letter, and he was so impressed with Whitman’s work that he asked for more; more Whitman and more about Lincoln. I then provided him a copy of “Leaves of Grass” and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and he has since really taken to poetry as a form of personal expression and stress relief. The two works together enabled him to see the parallels of history and poetry, something his school classes had not. Obviously Lincoln’s legacy lives on, not only through his own deeds and writings, but through the timeless prose of Walt Whitman and the hearts and minds of successive generations.


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