My interest in President Lincoln started by accident.
Kelsey and I were driving down historic Route 66 in Illinois when Beth for the 20th time suggested we stop in Springfield and visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. “Why in the world would we want to do that?” we wondered but assuming it was good advice we sought it out. Wow! What a fantastic show! It did the job of educating me a bit on Lincoln but more importantly it kindled a desire to learn more about the man.
Some time later I visited Gettysburg, PA because I knew it was an important battleground in the Civil War and it’s less than two hours from my home. Besides a disturbing realization of the cost of that battle and a growing respect for its importance as a turning point in the war, I was very touched by Lincoln’s role. His Gettysburg Address of only 272 words delivered at the dedication ceremony of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery was deeply affecting in the context of the Battle of Gettysburg. I was quite moved. This man had a remarkable way with words. I wanted to learn more about him.
I planned a trip to Mammoth Caves and noticed that I could visit Lincoln’s Birthplace and Boyhood Home along the way. Perfect! These were National Park facilities so I was sure they’d be good.
As it turns out they were and there was much more to be seen, most importantly the Lincoln Museum in Hodgenville. This town was closest to where Lincoln was born. What set this museum apart was the wax figures of Lincoln at different stages of his life and in different contexts: Lincoln the kid in his cabin, Lincoln the Senator running for office, Lincoln the President giving his address at Gettysburg. Pretty good.
OK, but that wasn’t even the best of it. By sheer coincidence I happen to be in the area for Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday. Not only would there be commemorations and celebrations but the first of four new pennies was going to be revealed at a ceremony. I changed my plans to be there on the special day and I’m glad it did … it was a blast!by