On February 11, 1860, Abraham Lincoln left the Springfield train depot for his inauguration as 16th President of the United States. On February 11, 2012, we visited Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery. We feel very fortunate to be here on his birthday because of all of the special events this weekend.
We joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars pilgrimage to Lincoln’s tomb. VFW National Commander Richard DeNoyer of Middleton, MA, presented the eulogy, and the chaplain of the Ladies Auxiliary placed a wreath in front of the tomb. About 75 people gathered for the event, including 18 high school student finalists in the VFW’s essay contest.
Afterwards we stopped at the Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial to pay our respects. This and the WWII Memorial are at the entrance to Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Next we went to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum to see the “Big 3.” For this weekend only a handwritten manuscript of the Gettysburg Address and a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln were on display, but only through February 13. In addition, the Congressional resolution for the 13th Amendment, also signed by Lincoln was on display, but only through May 31. What a thrill to see the notebook pages of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln’s own handwriting! Yes, he wrote it after the fact as explained in photos 317-318 (sorry, my Internet connection is weak tonight so the photos will be posted later), but it’s a piece of American history that I got to see with my own eyes! (Jed Magee, I’ll be visiting with you when we get home!)
The Presidential Museum has wonderful interactive exhibits, but its mission is on-going as Lech Walesa was there the day before to receive a special recognition. He was honored with the Lincoln Leadership Prize, awarded to those whose “lives and actions exemplify Lincoln’s legacy of leadership.”