Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I wonder what he'd think...

When we were on vacation, we had a 6 hour layover at the train station in Washington DC. Matt's priority was to make it to the World War II Memorial. It had been so important to his grandma that the Memorial be built, and WWII is such a huge part of his life and family history that it was really important to get there. I didn't realize it was so close to the Lincoln Monument, which is probably my favorite place in Washington DC.

We walked over to the Lincoln Monument, and I was truly struck by all the history that has happened on that spot that was built to honor one of our most famous Presidents. It was very sobering for me, and I had to wonder, "What would Abraham Lincoln think of this monument?" What would he think to see himself recreated in such a large and immortal marble figure? He was such a humble man, and even beyond humble, he had such a poor self image, that I think he would probably be mortified to see a monument in his honor.

I have some serious issues with the new Lincoln pennies too. At first I thought that the penny with him standing up in front of a building was him in front of his monument. I realize that that made me angrier than it should have, but I thought that it went against all that history teaches us about him to show him standing in front of his monument like, "Hi, I'm Abe, and this is my monument." I actually did some internet-searching research on this very subject and discovered that he's actually standing in front of the Illinois legislature building, not his monument. Still, it irks me a little because he's standing there, larger than life and gesturing like, "Hey check me out, I worked here."

I have less trouble with the one of him sitting on a log near his cabin because that one shows his humble roots, and more of the real Lincoln that I think he would like to be remembered for.

We got home from vacation and a couple days later I was getting ready for work, and when I went downstairs, the TV was on and (even though Matt was nowhere to be seen) Lucie was lying on the couch watching a documentary on, of all things, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I was rather impressed with her viewing choices, and so I sat down next to her and was instantly drawn in. I rewound it as far as I could, and then set the DVR to record the remainder of the program.

Today I finally finished watching that program, and it got me thinking about my recent trip there, and how I might be projecting my own issues with his humility onto him more than he would, but still I wonder what he would think of the elevated position he holds in our history.

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