We in the U.S. had a special day on February 18 to honor our presidents. No doubt all have made profound impacts on the nation, some more than others.
A holiday was originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington. It became known as Presidents Day after it was moved as part of the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, celebrated on the third Monday in February. The holiday was an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers.
The Uniform Monday Holiday Act also included a provision to combine the celebration of Washington’s birthday (February 22) with that of Abraham Lincoln, which fell on February 12. Lincoln’s Birthday had long been a state holiday in places like Illinois, and many supported joining the two days as a way of giving equal recognition to two of America’s most famous statesmen.
While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents, past and present. (https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/presidents-day)
I appreciate each leader who was chosen by our nation to lead in various times – good and bad. Of course, I favor George Washington, our first president, along with Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president.
When I think of the presidents, their sacrifices and their significance to United States, my mind naturally reflects on Abraham Lincoln. He was elected to the position in 1860 during one of the toughest times in U.S. history – just before and during the Civil War when thousands upon thousands of fellow citizens lost their lives while being at war with each other – the Union (North) versus the Confederacy (South).
Just think, where would the U.S., and the world, be today if the Union of states was dissolved? The concept would have Washington, D.C., being replaced by a more northern city as the national capital while the Confederacy’s capital would be somewhere in the south.
While the Union prevailed, there would need to be a tremendous healing. I would like to go into detail about the nation’s struggles, and the challenges ahead, but my thought for the moment is to highlight something that triggers my emotions – President Lincoln’s assassination.
As the Civil War was ending and the nation embraced hopes of uniting as one, tragedy struck.
President Lincoln had decided to celebrate the renewed hope of the Union staying together by spending an evening out with his wife.
After hearing of the president’s plans to attend a play in Ford’s Theatre, a group of conspirators finalized their murderous plan they hoped would revive the Confederate cause.
While attending the play, Our American Cousin, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., Lincoln was shot in the head as he watched the play. He died the following day at 7:22 a.m., in the Petersen House opposite the theatre. (Wikipedia)
Images from Library of Congress and National Park Service
Lincoln was the first American president to be assassinated, and Lincoln’s funeral and burial marked an extended period of national mourning. More extensive details are found in myriads of documents, archives and publications. Wikipedia’s link is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Abraham_Lincoln. If you visit Washington, D.C., it is worth going to Ford’s Theatre for an in-depth understanding of events.
The images above show how the theatre was restored close to it’s original configuration when President Lincoln was shot. The old door with holes is the original door leading to Lincoln’s box. Some thought the hold was drilled by the perpetrator to ensure the right moment for attack but the family of Ford’s Theatre mentioned Henry Ford, owner, drilled the hole.
The images of the Peterson House across the street from Ford’s Theatre show where Lincoln was taken after being shot, and where he died. The bed is not original but a replica at the same location in the house just inside the house entrance hallway under the stairs. Lincoln was tall and had to be placed on the bed at an angle.
I ask, why does one take the life of another? Why does one despise – to the point of murder, civil, national leadership such as a president who wants freedom for all; one who prayed and worked endlessly for a Union of states (the United States of America) for the common good and freedom of humankind?
We may have differences and disagreements, and yes we do, but we need to be peaceful and civil, working toward the common good of a free society under the rule of law, allowing individual freedom to flourish.
Love and protect freedom; respect life; respect the position of leadership working for the common good, even when we disagree with decisions.
Blessings along the Way!