Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lincoln

My "L" post for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is not a place, but a person.

150 years ago, April 14, 1865, was Good Friday.  Just a few days before, April 9, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to Union General U.S. Grant.  Although this action did NOT end the Civil War, (and I am one of many who believe it has never truly ended), many had rejoiced at the news.

But not everyone.

Some of those "not everyones" plotted to assassinate the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and two of his successors - the Vice-President and the Secretary of State, to totally disrupt the United States government.

The night of April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln, his wife, Henry Rathbone (an Army officer) and Rathbone's fiance,  watched a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC.  In those days Presidents were not guarded.

At around 10:15pm, an acclaimed actor and Confederate sympathizer,  John Wilkes Booth, entered Lincoln's private box and shot Lincoln in the back of his head.  The wound proved to be fatal.  Lincoln died the next day.

So what is so beautiful about that?  Well, 150 years later, the ways we pay tribute to Abraham Lincoln show how deep he is embedded in our national consciousness.
In Columbia, South Carolina, the capital of the first state to secede from the Union after Lincoln was elected President, I found this silver maple bust of Abraham Lincoln in a university museum exhibit called Crafting Civil (War) Conversations last month.

 In New York City, this plaque, near to one of the entrances to the High Line (on West 30th between 9th and 10th Avenues) tells a story of long ago.

In Vandalia, Illinois, I found a duplicate of a Lincoln Life Mask made in 1960.

In Vandalia, I also found a city park .  Lincoln began his political career in Vandalia, a city where his memory is constantly honored.  I once blogged about eating a tuna sandwich on that bench.

The aftermath of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln still echoes in our country even today, 150 years later.  Many cites or towns in our nation are called Lincoln or a variation (i.e. Lincoln Park) but not all of them are named after Abraham Lincoln (I found, for example, at least one error in this map).  Even today, there are people who revere Lincoln's memory and people who despise it.

However you feel, Lincoln has become an integral part of America the Beautiful.

19 comments:

  1. A well researched, informative post, Alana!

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  2. I'm really loving your Civil War posts. I majored in history in college, my boyfriend teaches high school social studies, he's a huge Civil War buff, and you're giving us lots of good places to visit.

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    1. Songbird, thank you. I'll respond to your other comments, too. I was a history major for my first year of college. I switched to culturall anthropology when I realized I was more interested in people and their stories rather than the facts of history. Just know that I am far from a Civil War buff.

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  3. I'm curious, though, why you and others believe the war never really ended. I'd argue otherwise.

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    1. I would welcome that discussion. I base my belief on a number of discussions I've had with southerners (including Northerners who moved down South years ago). At a reenactment in South Carolina a reenactor mentioned Sherman and the way people reacted, you would have thought Sherman had personally burned their houses. I overheard a conversation at an exhibit (in Columbia SC) commemorating the burning of Columbia where, again, the people reacted as if it had happened to them personally - the pain in their voices an their reactions, was like they had personally lived through the war and was still feeling its pain.

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    2. Interesting. It's more of an emotional connection to the events of the war than anything else. Sort of like, when I was growing up in the 60's and 70's, Jewish kids thought about the Holocaust, even though it was (thank G-d) over long before any of us were born.

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  4. In any event, I thought you might like this news article http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/Archive-AP-Report-of-Lincolns-Assassination-From-1865-299591381.html?_osource=SocialFlowFB_NYBrand

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    1. Thank you. I checked this out yesterday.

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  5. Having been born in Illinois, I hold him in high revere. Not everything he did was perfect, but his contributions cannot be denied.

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    1. He certainly left his mark on our country, in so many ways.

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  6. Interesting story. And yes, Lincoln is definitely an integral part of Americas history.

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    1. So much so that a virgil was kept in front of the house where Lincoln died, 150 years old today. And, it was even televised on one TV channel.

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  7. Yes the civil war have still carried on in political world. Even Idaho wasn't part of it. But there a good percentage of people who still is for state rights and want nothing to do with the federal goverment.

    I have family connection with the assassination of Linclon. My great grand father Dunae Witherell was part of the 21 gun sulute over lincoln grave. He fired a volly of shot...Coffee is on

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    1. Interesting. Genealogy is something I haven't gotten into that much. One of my uncles did work on my father's side of the family. Ironically, I don't think I had any relatives in the United States at the time of the Civil War; as far as I know they all came here at the turn of the (20th) century.

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  8. Without a doubt, he's one of the greatest people and Presidents of all time.

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    1. When I watched the C-Span 3 coverage of the people in front of Ford's Theatre last night holding a virgil to commemorate Lincoln's shooting and death, it gave me chills.

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  9. Hi Alana,
    It's so sad. We have the same type of passionate arguing over our presidents today. People and political parties are so divided! I wanted to see that movie out about Pres Lincoln and his wife but I haven't yet.
    Amy

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    1. Even families are divided, and the discussions are taken so personally - it isn't just that a Democrat argues with Republican family members (or vice versa); it now becomes a matter that family members of the "wrong" party are evil, or worse. It wasn't that way years ago.

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