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
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.