When daughter Jan was in grade school, her favorite president was Abraham Lincoln.
He has since been replaced by scads of rock singers and movie stars.
We had been in Missouri for a family reunion and on the way home we made a special stop in Springfield, IL, to see where Lincoln was buried.
Of course, we had to visit the farm where he was born in Hogenville, KY in a one-room log cabin on Feb. 12, 1809. He developed a reputation as "Honest Abe."
In Washington, DC, we visited Ford's Theatre where he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Before that time he had been elected 16th president of the United States, freeing the slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation and he delivered the address at Gettysburg during the Civil War, which he conducted to its conclusion at the Antietam Courthouse.
After his assassination, his body was carried on a funeral train which traveled 1,654 miles retracing the route Lincoln had traveled to Washington, DC. "The Greatest Funeral in the History of the United States," Abraham Lincoln's funeral train was the first national commemoration of a president's death by rail. The body was accompanied by several dignitaries and his son Robert Todd Lincoln. His widow, Mary Todd Lincoln was so distraught, she did not make the trip.
On our visit to Springfield with Jan, we visited the tomb where he was finally buried after being exhumed 17 times due to reconstructions to the tomb and security. Lincoln's coffin would be placed in a steel cage and encased in concrete because in 1876 two counterfeiters attempted to steal Lincoln's body and hold it for ransom. The thieves were caught just as they had caught John Wilkes Booth. That was the end of Jan's love affair with Abraham Lincoln.
It was appropriate because that was the end of the 16th president of the United States who ranks with George Washington as the most prominent chief executive of our nation.
Jan knew how to pick them!
© 2010 Robert F. Karolevitz