Lincoln visits a Holocaust survivor, a book review of Land of Lincoln, adventures in Abe’s America by Andrew Ferguson

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I sat for the past few days besides doing yard work, I stuck my nose in a book called Land of Lincoln Adventures in Abe’s America by Andrew Ferguson. I honestly had a hard tome putting this book down. I think in some way across the United States or even for that matter the world we all have a little bit of “Honest Abe” deep within all of us.

We all start out with humble beginnings and most of us in the world are not born with a silver spoon in our mouth. We usually grow up and everyday we learn something new and strive for knowledge just as Abraham Lincoln had all his life. Trying to come out of hardship and manual labor, Abraham Lincoln Strove to learn and to better himself so he could eventually become more, because he knew he had it in him. As a young man he studied Law, while struggling financially with failed businesses behind him and menial jobs. Eventually he would become a Lawyer, run for the state senate, Win a Presidential Race, and go on to be the 16th President of the United States.

He struggled through his life with depression, and being Bi-Polar. Most of us in the world can relate to that. Again we have all struggled with depression, among some of those who struggle with being Bi-Polar. He had married Mary Todd Lincoln. She was a well educated woman from a fairly wealthy family. Who in their own rights had not really approved of her marriage or courtship to Lincoln. He was not from wealth, and later on her families estate would come under a lawsuit as to who was to take control of the property her family had owned. Being again they did not approve of her marriage and they definitely were not in favor of the Emancipation Proclamation, as Mary’s Family were slave owners themselves. These are all the types of struggles as being human we can relate to across the world.

Whether you know alot about Lincoln or you do not we can all relate in some way or another. On a fateful evening in April we had lost one of the greatest Presidents that America had known . A gunman named James Wilkes Booth entered where Lincoln had been been sitting and shot Mr. Lincoln in the back of the head. He dove to the stage below and yelled “sic semper tyrannis”, translated ” Thus always the Tyrants”. As he dove and hit the stage he had Broken his Leg and thus the greatest manhunt, in the history of the United States began, possibly even the world. Booth was killed in a barn set ablaze as soldiers opened fire. But not before he could stop at the house of Dr. Mudd. Mudd helped booth with his leg and that is where the saying came from your name is Mudd.

So I am reading this book and towards the end of the book I come across a story I will probably never ever forget as long as I live. I cannot tell it as well as the author Andrew Ferguson so below I will quote his book his story as he traveled the path of Abraham Lincoln and tried to figure out who Lincoln was and why he was so great.

Excerpt from Land of Lincoln

Adventures in Abe’s America

By. Andrew Ferguson

Frank told me he’d moved to Springfield four years ago with his three daughter, the oldest who was now in high school. ” I wanted them to get a better start in life, Jacksonville is a town of seventeen thousand. Springfield has a hundred and ten thousand people. There’s more opportunity to get ahead, just so long as I can keep up with them away from the gangbangers and the knuckleheads out there”. His original hope was to get a job with the state government. ” Hopefully somewhere I could use my personality and my people skills, I prefer a job that is people intensive”. Unable to find a government job, he went to work at the Hilton, hoping the flow of politicians and officials in and out all day would give him the contacts that eventually pay off.

” It hasn’t happened yet, and I think sometimes, well, why? now I think I know why. Last Tuesday morning, I’m at my desk here, and there’s some kind of commotion at the front desk. I ventured over to see if I could be of assistance. A tell gentleman was standing there, very old, very feeble. It appeared to me that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease or a disease of that kind. He was having trouble conversing. He spoke in broken English. The girl behind the desk says to me “Frank, We cannot understand what this gentleman is saying. We’re having trouble here.”

” Well if you listened closely and concentrated hard, pretty soon you could put two and two together and understand some of what the man was saying. He was experiencing difficulty entering his room, so I escorted him to the elevator and we were able to use the key to get him in the room. He was very grateful that I had been of assistance and he said he wanted to show me something”.

” It was a letter, dated April 1965, “Frank said. ” It was from the mayor of Springfield— The Mayor at the time. It was addressed to this gentleman in Prague, Czechoslovakia. That’s where he was from, Czechoslovakia. The letter from the mayor thanked him for his interest in Abraham Lincoln, and invited him to Springfield, as a guest of the Mayor. It said, You come here to see the home and the tomb and the Lincoln shrines as our guest, and we will give you the key to the city. Well, apparently, it took him forty years to save enough to get here, but he made it.

” Then the man tells me his story. Suddenly he stands up straight as can be as he tells me. He said He’d been in a concentration camp. He pulled up his sleeve and said this. Every time he mentioned the concentration camp he pulled up his sleeve, and you could see the number there. He knew about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington from when he learned about them in school as a boy.

” Now here’s what’s interesting . When he was in the concentration camp, and he was all alone in his cell, it was the worst time of his life and he didn’t think he could go on anymore, and he said Mr. Lincoln came to him.

” Mr. Lincoln stood right in front of him, just like I’m standing here in front of you, and Lincoln said to him , ” You never forget: All men are created equal. This is true for all men all times, and these men who would do this thing to you, who put you here, they’re no better than you. You are equal, because all men are created equal, you keep remembering this, and you persevere, you’ll be all right”.

” Well this is what the gentleman said, in his broken English. I don’t know about ghosts I’m skeptical, But this is what the man said. I get a chill thinking about it”.

” Well, from this time onward, the man says he knew he was going to be alright. he knew he was going to persevere, and he vowed if he ever got out of the concentration camp, he would come to Springfield, to thank Mr. Lincoln, he was so grateful. He’d written a poem for Lincoln and he had to recite it for him. That’s what he said. He had three flowers on the bed, they were the plastic kind, two red, one white, carnations. He said he had to go to Lincoln’s tomb and give him the flowers and recite this poem.

” Then he recited the poem for me, right there in the room. I didn’t understand it, of course. He was hunched up in the back, but he stood up straight as can be when he said it, this old man. He put his hand over his heart. He was shaking.”

Frank left him and went down to his post in the lobby and called the mayor’s office. The opening for the Lincoln museum was a week away, and everyone on the mayors’s staff was busy. Someone suggested Frank call the convention and visitors’ bureau, and a woman named Alicia Erickson, who specialized  in dealing with foreign tourist groups, arrived a few minutes later. ” I told her, you have to help this gentleman, but be careful, because I’m thinking he’s on some kind of death walk, Alicia , I think this is his final trip, This is something he’s got to do before he dies. ” Alicia told me later what happened after that.

” His name was Mr. Dubin, Henri Dubin, ” she said. ” He was sweet and very gentle, but he was frail, very thin, and kind of hunched over— and very hard to understand. Only Frank could really understand him, I think. And he was just insistent that he had to visit Lincoln’s tomb right then, that day. He couldn’t wait because he had to fly back home the next day.

“So I got him in my car and we drove out to the tomb. He was carrying the flowers in his lap. I don’t think he could hear me that well, because when I would ask something he didn’t really answer. So we didn’t do much talking.

” At the tomb he walked around the outside very slowly. Then we went inside. You know how at the tomb you kind of go down a hallway and turn, then you go down another hallway and turn again, before you get to the actual tomb?”

I told her I did, at every turn is a small Lincoln statue, molded after the more famous ones around the country. There’s Anna Hyatt Huntington’s on the circuit, and the Saint-Gaudens from Chicago, and of course French’s form the memorial in Washington.

” Well he had to stop at every statue. He’d put his hand on it and study it, stare at it. By the time we got to the grave he was crying. He was very emotional. He took one look at the tomb and let me tell you: that man got down on his knees and kissed the ground. Then he laid the flowers there, and he got back up, and he stood straight as he could and recited his poem. Tears were streaming down his face. his voice was very strong and clear. then he looks at me and he kind if sighs and he says, ” Yes, Now it’s over.” He says, ” We can go.”

Mr. Dubin slept most of the next day and then through the night.

” The next morning, ” Frank told me, ” we got him to the airport. I made sure my friends at the airlines understood how feeble this man was, that they had to take special care of him. When I got him to the Check-in, he couldn’t help himself, he was crying again. He turned to me and he said, ” Frank, God sent you to help me find Lincoln. You are an angel. ” And he hugged me.”

Standing there by his desk in the Hilton lobby, Frank didn’t say anything for a while. ” I told a lady friend about this last week, after it happened. she said to me, ” Frank, you want to know why you haven’t got your job in the government yet— that’s why. You had to be there, at the Hilton. ” she said, God wanted you to be there to help this man!” Maybe so. I’m Skeptical, I’m a skeptical man

 

Andrew Ferguson

 

Well after I finished this book on one mans journey I discovered like I said there is a little Lincoln in everyone, and I have a few new places and people I now need to talk to. Well enough typing for the night off to watch some Tv and then off to bed. Goodnight to all my readers.

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What would you miss?

 

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So I am reading a book called station eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. About a pandemic called the Georgia Flu that nearly wipes out mankind. Behind is left abandoned places, with no electricity, or running water etc… She poses an interesting question in the book. If this really happened and we had limited resources, and we were forced to use horses, hunt and scrounge for water clothing etc… What would you miss most.

I am really not sure what I would miss most. Today everything is stored in modern forms of media such as computers. People really do not go to the library, or take photographs put them in albums. I think I would miss forms of visual stimulation such as photographs. Photographs tell the stories of where we have been, who we are and were. They tell most of our modern history. I am sure we would eventually lose visual forms of art to vandals and thieves. What would be left are the images in our heads.

We would lose most modern music and have to rely on what instruments we had left to entertain. We would rely on the old fashioned play, no more television, or going on YouTube for entertainment. We would have storytellers again, people who would tell stories of the past we would have to rely on their memories to provide us some of our human history. I am sure some of us would probably lose the skills to read or write to communicate.

I would probably miss being able to travel where you wanted to go on a whim and seeing friends and talking to friends from distances. We would not have cellular phones or Skype. We would not be able to just turn a key and go visit those friends when we want to. We would have to go back to letter writing and delivery services such as the Pony Express again. I would miss everyday conversation quite a bit. Really we do not know how lucky we are to be able to use phones, and social media to keep up with what is going on with our friends.

We would probably miss going shopping for the goods we need. We would have to learn new skills to survive, We would not be able to go to Walmart or the Mall to get clothing, or food or supplies we need for everyday living. We would have to learn to hunt, fish, sew and make items we needed to even travel from place to place. We would have to fabricate parts we needed for wagons etc…

 

Being able to go to a ballgame with my kid, or take them places like amusement parks. We would not be able to do any of that anymore. our entertainment would be limited, and we would again have to rely on old forms of entertainment that would probably be very new to most of the modern generations who have probably never even been to a play for entertainment.

Anyways just a few thoughts as into how life might be had we lost everything we know. What would you miss most?

Where were you when the Towers fell?

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I was reading a blog yesterday by my friend Jax Turnya Who is a model, and who works on the Mancow show in Chicago ironically enough, because he will later be involved in this story. She asked where were you on September  11, 2001? Well thinking about it it brought back many emotions sadness, anger, and my thoughts raced.

September 11th, 2001 Started out pretty ordinary all except the night before I was out with some friends, and we eventually wound out at Steak and Shake. The night progressed and I got tired so I told my friends I was going out to my car to nap for a bit, and when they were done there let me know. The morning came around and The sun had rose. My friends were still inside talking. Must have been a pretty important conversation to be up talking all night at a restaurant.

I turned on my radio, Ironically here is where Mancow Muller comes in. Mancow was on the air that morning and anyone who loves in the Chicago land area knows he has kind of a sick sense of humor, and would play jokes on his listeners and such. Well the news came across the air a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center buildings. I thought no way it was another joke but I soon realized he was not playing a joke at all.

I soon ran into Steak and Shake and told my friends I was leaving. For some reason my gut instinct told me to go home and watch the news. At that time I was staying with my Friend Jeff in Johnsburg, Illlinois. I soon got there I told Jeff to turn on the T.V that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. No sooner did we turn on the T.V, we saw the 2nd plane hit the World Trade Center.

This was no private aircraft these planes were full fledged Jumbo jets carrying fuel and passengers. America all came to the same conclusion we did this was not a random accident. This was a terrorist attack on our own soil. There had been terrorist attacks on American Soil before, but nothing of this magnitude. Reports had hijacked planes heading all over the United States. This was the first time I felt scared. Even being 70 miles from Chicago, what if they decided to hit a small town? thinking that I called my Mother and asked her if she had heard the news. If I recall she was working that day. I remember saying I love you to her at the end of the conversation, and thinking if something should happen this could be the last time I say this.

Not to long after I got off the phone with my mother reports came another plane had crashed and hit the Pentagon. We were under such high alert suddenly that the F.A.A shut down all airspace and ordered any planes to land. One more plane never laded safely an American Airlines flight that crashed in a Pennsylvania field because of some heroic Citizens everyday average Joes who had decided to take the plane back and stop an attack on another target.

We watched in an almost trance like state watching the world trade centers collapsing. It was like something you would see in a movie, but this was real. No special effects no stunt doubles. Sheer terror, undeniable sadness, and anger for terrorists who had taken several thousand lives, INNOCENT LIVES!!!

As the day moved on I stepped out for a cigarette finally. The air was still perfect blue skies, and not a car on the road, or plane in the air, not even a child playing outside. It was eerily the strangest feeling in the world to feel like you are the only person outside, and a tear finally streamed down my eye. I went into a state of shock and sat on the front porch putting my face in my hands.

The rest of the night I do not think I went outside much. I remember spending most of the day sitting watching the news. They played the collapses over and over again. Nighttime had come around I remember the bucket brigades trying to clear the rubble and find survivors. Occasionally a body was found and you would see a stretcher escorted to an ambulance with an American Flag draped on it. I had had enough and finally went to bed but knowing the world had changed forever that day.

These are my recollections of September 11th, 2001 the photo you see above is from a sign near me not to long after the attacks happened. Need I say these were the sentiments of most Americans. America Came together Democrats, Republicans, Whites, African Americans, Gays, and Straights. We had all learned we were all one people, We learned we were all Americans. We had no division lines. Sometimes I still wish we felt this way. Most of us have forgotten what it understand what it means to be American and it is only 13 years Later.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

If you would like to read Jax Turnyas blog the site link is below!!

http://petitegirlsrock.blogspot.com/2014/09/where-were-you-that-september-day.html?spref=fb

Thank you for reading this!!!

American Icons the Drive-in theater

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On December 31st of 2013 A couple hundred Drive-in Screens across America might go dark simultaneously, and never see another movie played upon them again.

Honda has combined in an effort to preserve our past to give away 5 digital projectors, to 5 drive in theaters who will be voted by the American public to get them. This will only be 5 out of a little over 300 Drive-in theaters to be saved. On December 31st, 2013 film companies will stop producing 35 mm film, and all theaters will have to make the digital conversion. These digital projectors at a cost of a little over 85,000 dollars are expensive, and most Drive-in theaters being open seasonally cannot afford this conversion. The theaters depend on donations, and contests like this to survive.

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The McHenry Outdoor Theater could be one of these that close. They are in this contest. Here is the link http://projectdrivein.com/vote_111.

Here are some things that will be lost not only the experience of seeing a movie under the stars, but also packing your kids up in the car in their pajamas, eating popcorn, hotdogs, and slurping a giant Coke. We will also start to forget Americana, poodle skirts, and Friday nights with classic cars, where carhops would bring you your food!.

The Drive-in became a part of Americana, and was featured in movies like Grease, The Outsiders, and classic Tv series like Happy Days. Please help if you have a local Drive-In that needs help, please vote, or donate they need your help. If we forget our past we will be worse off in our future!

Out and About

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          When I am out, and about sometimes, be it with my friends, family. or others I run across events going on. Well last week I wound up coming across the McHenry Cruise Nights, in McHenry, Illinois. It was getting near the end of the night, and the cars were getting ready to leave a few were left over.

      I kept Strolling Tripod in hand so I could get that shot I wanted, and I looked and sitting in the grass area next to the parking lot was what appeared to be an old beat up chevy. I walked up to the car, and started taking photos. The owner was nearby, and he stood and watched me take photos for a few minutes. His daughter was playing in the car, and he told his daughter hey look this guy with the camera is gonna make us famous.

      When I finally got up, I started talking to the owner. He introduced himself and his name was Ryan. So I politely responded ” Well that is close enough my name is Brian”. and we both had a moment of laughter. We got to talking about the car.

      Well while talking I learned that this car was in pretty bad shape at one point. He had told me he had purchased it for $800.00, and it was basically a rolling chassis, and had no motor, the floorboards were rusted, and the top half of the car had a tree fall on it. I was shocked besides the surface rust, and the gritty look it had, which I like by the way the car was in pretty good shape, and now ran.

      Ryan had told me he had banged the roof out himself, put in a 327, new floorboards, and some side panels needed to be replaced in some spots with a little bit of welding, and ingenuity. She even had the up and down AM Radio in her, although it did not work, the radio brought me back to growing up when that is all our Chevy Citation had!!!.

       After talking a bit we finally parted ways, and I looked through my camera and knew this was the money shot the one I liked. The next week I thought about it I decided this shot would look great on a shirt and decided to have it printed, and I ordered It. This is what being out and about gets me. Hopefully you all like the photo, and the blog that I wrote here!!!

ImageThis is the shirt I had made!!!