Saturday, February 19, 2011
O Captain! My Captain!
When I was a little girl in Second grade, my teacher (Mrs. Olsen) taught me about Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. I was immediately enthralled with this man. This is what I was taught: Abraham Lincoln would walk miles to return a book, he was honest at all times, he had a tremendous sense of humor, and he was kind. This was all I needed to know, I became a Lincoln fan over night.
Here is a Lincoln Story:
In the old days, when Abraham Lincoln was one of the leading lawyers of the State, he noticed a little girl of ten who stood beside a trunk in front of her home crying bitterly. He stopped to learn what was wrong, and was told that she was about to miss a long-promised visit to Decatur because the wagon had not come for her.
``You needn't let that trouble you,'' was Lincoln's cheering reply. ``Just come along with me and we shall make it all right.''
Lifting the trunk upon his shoulder, and taking the little girl by the hand, Lincoln went through the streets of Springfield, a half-mile to the railway station, put her and her trunk on the train, and sent her away with a happiness in her heart that is still there.
In these times of fear and danger, a little girl being helped by a tall strange man seems a bit odd, but when I was an innocent child in 1957 this seemed like a wonderful story to me. Here was a man who would go out of his way to help a little girl, and I was certain he did this kind of thing every single day, although having spent time personally in Decatur I’m not sure why the little girl was making a fuss to get there. You can find story after story like this about President Lincoln. There are around 16,000 books written about him and there are more published every year. In America there are at least 15,000 serious Lincoln collectors. I am a Lincoln collector, but I would not be in the serious category, mainly because I can’t afford to be.
Although not a handsome man by any standards there was something about his face that drew me in and I loved his face. He had a rather sad and thoughtful expression that I still find compelling.
If you Google “Lincoln Myths” you will find that there are plenty of people who want to rain on my parade, and are not fans of Lincoln at all. They call him a dictator and other less flattering names. I’m only concerned about the man that I think he was. We all need heroes that we look up to and admire. I’m lucky enough to have many of them in my life, and Lincoln is one of them. I like Lincoln so much that I have a room in my house dedicated to him. I call it the Lincoln Library. Any time I or one of my sisters or friends finds a cool (affordable) Lincoln artifact we buy it and the collection grows and grows. This being said I also collect Star Trek, I wonder what this says about me and Lincoln.
Here are a few Lincoln quotes:
All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren't very new at all.
Every one desires to live long, but no one would be old.
I care not much for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.
Here was a man who literally gave his all for our country, Abraham Lincoln, My Captain!