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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A life remembered, Msg. Timothy R. Bodden part 2

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So this morning while I was sitting down to breakfast with my mom and dad, I started talking about the book The things they carried by Timothy O’Brien. Well I said that I think most soldiers during war cover up their actual feelings of what is going on around them by thinking about other things even if it is just about the color of the sky are the white clouds that are floating through it. Which reminded me of the scene in Forest Gump, when the clouds break and he sees the stars for the first time in a long time.

Well after talking about it, My dad started talking about as he calls him Bodden. Let me explain, Bodden Joined the Marines about the same time my father did, along with Richard Puckett. During Basic training they were almost inseparable.  You can call them the Three Musketeers, or the Three Amigos if you will. One of the first times my father got to start to know Bodden they were doing KP together. Well my Fathers job was to make the salad, and Bodden’s Job was to do the dishes. My father has never been much of a cook the microwave oven and anything quick to make is basically what he does. Well he said Bodden got along better with the drill sergeant than my father did. So Bodden told my father he would switch him Jobs because Bodden apparently loved to cook. So my dad wound out doing the dishes rather than the salad.

So further on in the discussion he talked about another incident with Bodden, Now I am not clear on whether it was in the barracks or they were at a bar or wherever it might have been. Another Marine had started with Bodden and according to my dad Bodden was not a very big guy but he said after studying martial arts that he could handle his own. Well the Marine starting apparently swung on Bodden and he put the other Marine to the ground as quickly as the fight started it ended.

After I wrote the original blog, A life remembered Msg. Timothy R. Bodden his Daughter whom he had never known wrote me and gave a thank you. She explained who she was her name was Leona Estes. She had informed me that she had never known her father because he went off to Vietnam before she was born, or to young maybe to remember either way she never got to know him. I included the full report on the incident where Bodden and his other crew members aboard a CH-46 were shot down on June 3rd 1967. Either he was the door gunner or another part of the crew. But Bodden had his back broken during the crash, and according to some was shot in the back Execution style either by the Viet-cong or the North Vietnamese. One or two members of the crew survived and lived to tell the tale. But they fought valiantly according to the reports trying to fend off the enemy.

A few years down the road a reply came to my wall on my blog from a Jeff Hinga. I am actually going to copy and paste here his story, Because I cannot tell it as well as he did because it is his story.

During this Memorial Day weekend I would like to post this about a marine named Timothy Bodden. Tim died on a mission in Vietnam and the significance of this tragedy is enormous for my family. You see, this mission was supposed to be my fathers but he had just got back from two back to back missions and Timothy pulled rank over him and made him stay behind while he took dads place on the chopper. My dad has always talked about this and credits his life and the lives of myself and my sister to Timothy Bodden. Rip Mr. Bodden. You are not forgotten.

– Jeff Hinga –

If it were not for Timothy Bodden and his Sacrifice, Mr, Hinga and his Sister would not be around today. This meant Bodden was a Hero in more than one way. Not only did he save a life but because of that life saved two more were created. Mr Hinga’s Father passed away on August 30th 2016, from complications stemming from the use of Agent Orange a chemical weapon during Vietnam. May he also be remembered for his Valiant service to this country and God rest his soul.

Today I decided to look up Tim again because I wondered how much had been posted since I originally wrote the first blog. Well I ran across an obituary for his mother Dorothy Bodden Semrau on Pownetwork.com. In September of 2010 she passed away. But it said after her sons helicopter crash on June 3rd 1967, she had spent 34 years of her life in finding the whereabouts of her son. Traveling to foreign countries, speaking to their leaders, our presidents, congressman and anyone who would listen to her cause. She was probably so struck and upset by this event in her life that as a mother she would stop at nothing to bring her son home. She in a way is a Hero to because of her dedication to bringing home her son. Hopefully she is now at rest and spending time in Heaven with her son.

To end this little blog I would like to say when we were younger as kids my father often spoke of Bodden, and Puckett and some other Marine buddies. But suddenly after my mother had found out they pronounced him dead during a class she was teaching in genealogy. I think my father felt some sort of way because he stopped talking about his friend and was in his own way grieving in Marine fashion. My dad is still never good about his feelings and showing them. But that is my Father. I am proud to have him as my dad, My dad never reenlisted right before Vietnam and a few buddies went over and one never returned. As I said in the beginning I think soldiers use other methods like remembering them as being alive and not passed before they even really lived. I was shocked after I asked him years ago about Timothy Bodden I basically got the brush off like it was a sore subject which it might have been, and now he started to talk again. Hopefully maybe over the next few months he will open up with more stories I can write so the family and friends of Bodden can learn more about him. One more little tidbit though Bodden was a talker he loved talking to the point his other Marine Friends and acquaintances would ask does he ever shut up? I found that to be humorous since alot of people say the same thing about me. Hope this gives everyone a little more insight into the life of Msg. Timothy R. Bodden.

Timothy R. Bodden

Born November, 6 1942 Downers Grove, Illinois

Missing June 3rd, 1967 Laos, Vietnam

Pronunced KIA February 26,1980

May you never be forgotten.1058hanson_jpg

pow

 

Memorial Day, May we Remember

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On this Memorial Day we recognize those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to this country. We sit here and not only mourn the loss of those who gave their lives but remember those who did. I took this a few years ago In Woodstock, Illinois. As the soldiers you see changing out the old flag with the new salute as the change is made, the Rifle was with the pair of boots, and the helmet and dog tags adorned it. This is a way to honor a fallen soldier in the battle field.This is called the Battlefield Cross this practice goes back to the Civil War possibly earlier. It was a way to mark the dead or fallen before they were removed from the battle field.

This one was raised on a memorial day vigil for a fallen soldier from the surrounding area. I never did read the dog tags on the rifle. I often wondered who it was. I wish I knew the man who gave his life for this country. My way of showing he was remembered was from this photo. It was later published on Vogue.It Photovogue.

We often forget those who watched their brothers fall on the battlefield and do not think what they watched, what they witnessed or how they felt at that very moment. They watched their brother in arms fall before them. They were possibly a friend or even family member at times. Soldiers looked out for each other as they even lay dying. Some would try to comfort them in their last moments as they drew their final breath.

I am sure I cannot imagine the pure horror as soldiers came off a troop transport and stormed a beach as German soldiers following their orders to open fire opened up their full arsenal on our soldiers.the pure horror as their friends fell and they had to move over them as they lay there dead. Bombs dropping, the beach being shelled from a distance by battleships to try to compromise enemy positions and destroy them. Bullets flying through the air, and grenades, and mortars exploding all around them. I really cannot imagine the sights the sounds or the screams. To me it was the ultimate sacrifice. these soldiers were out to stop a ruthless dictator who had his sights set on taking over the world.

Soldiers who have died during battle knew the ultimate price they had to possibly pay, and yet they enlisted to defend you and I. They had families to lets also not forget them, moms, Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Cousins, Uncles, and Aunts. Those people have had to deal everyday with the loss of their loved ones. They watched their family members leave for war knowing they may never see them again.

Memorial Day is not just about your backyard Barbecue, or that beer you hold in your hand. It is not about going out to the lake, or seeing how drunk you can get. Memorial Day is about recognizing those who have served and  gave their lives for our country defending our freedom. It is also about honoring the families of the fallen those who have had to watch as their loved ones casket was carried that last 15 feet, with an American Flag Draped over it. It is about the Mother, or the son daughter or father who stand and lay their head on the casket as they weep because their family gave their life. They gave their lives for their families, friends, and for us the strangers they never knew so that we could have our Freedom.

Today as you watch the parades, or the wreath being laid on the tomb of the unknown soldier on television. Please take a moment of silence and say a prayer no matter your religion. people of all different races and religions and sexual orientations gave their life to defend you. They defended you so that you could be with your family, and be there to honor them today.

Thank you to those who gave their lives,

Brian Andrews

Boston Strong!!!

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        Although we argue a lot, over many issues, nothing is more powerful or inspiring as when our Nation rally’s together. In this very moment I can say with my head held high, I’m proud to be an American. This was Written by my friends who run a fan page on Facebook called Life’s Detour. I could not have said it much better than that!. Tonight I am very proud to be an American. Last summer I took this photo I called only the strong dedicated to those who have not only server our country here, but overseas, and in foreign armed services to. I love when our nation comes together, and for a little while we are not Democrats, or Republicans, but WE ARE UNITED.

We as a nation will not tolerate terrorists!!! It does not matter if they are from here, or from another country. I as a citizen represent my country, I represent you, and I represent my family. We are a strong nation, and I do not know why we only come together in times of tragedy. My father almost every morning hangs an American Flag out front of our house!!!. He is a Proud American, although he never fought in a war, he served in the Marine Corps. He had a Friend who died in Vietnam, his name Was MSG. Timothy Bodden. He was aboard a CH-46 Air crew member when his Helicopter went down over Vietnam. I had heard a few stories,from it just went down, to they took enemy fire. No matter the story we know he served his country, and died for his country!.

We will never forget those who died, or got injured this past week, because of a few cowardly acts by excuse my language Cowardly Asshole terrorists. I would like to say my prayers are still with the family of those lost, and those who lives are changed forever by these cowardly acts. We will forever be in debt to those who brought these terrorists to justice, and to those who were first responders, firefighters, and even regular citizens who took it into their own hands to save people they did not even know. Now their lives have intersected, and will forever be connected. God Bless All Of You!

Thank you for reading this!!

Brian

This is a virtual memorial to MSG. Timothy Bodden,

http://www.virtualwall.org/db/boddentr01a.htm

Where the opening quote was pulled from,

https://www.facebook.com/LifesDetour

Link to photo,

http://www.vogue.it/en/photovogue/Portfolio/b94e8b97-8e65-4694-96f4-b668fe156dc2/Image