One of the stops on our whirlwind spring break tour was Springfield, IL. Wayne had been there as a boy on the only vacation his family ever took. The initial reason for the trip was to see family, but while in Springfield they stopped by the Abraham Lincoln home in Springfield. Since we were heading south to Arkansas from Wisconsin and had to swing through Illinois anyway, this seemed like the perfect diversion.
What a diversion it was!
|The most photographed angle of Lincoln's home.|
|His writing desk where he wrote many speeches.|
We then went to the Abraham Lincoln National Museum in downtown Springfield, where we spent the majority of the day. You don't have to love Abe Lincoln or history to find this museum and its presentation moving. Humbling. Respectful. Pick your adverb, it was an incredible and somber experience.
|Except for this part. This part wasn't quite so somber.|
1. He was not a popular president. As a matter of fact, between the time he was elected president and he took office 12 states had seceded from the union, they were so infuriated with his being elected. (Hmmm....I remember some politicians threatening to secede if they had to buy into this "Obamacare" business...)
|Lincoln's physical features made him a favorite of political satirists.|
|This scene is seared in Marissa's head. It was very impactful and emotional.|
|Scenes of Willie's illness in the White House and Mary's grief at his passing.|
|Representing the reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation|
|The devil snuck in the back way.|
The wax figures, scenes, documents, lighting, and audio effects made history literally come to life. No one got bored. Okay, so Marissa kept trying to push me along to see the next room because it was SO COOL, but she definitely was not bored.
The White House and Civil War displays were dark. Somber. Moving. It seemed odd to go from there to the children's shop where the girls could try on period clothes and make dinner from the log cabin kitchen. That was our final stop of the day, and the following day we stopped at Lincoln's tomb before heading south on our journey.
|Statue of young Lincoln on the left, and President Lincoln on the right. The heavy mantle of war is on his shoulders, weighing him down.|
Ironically, we happened to arrive on the first day of it being re-opened after a 4-month closure for remodeling. Visitors could walk through the circular hall, admiring statues along the way, and eventually view Lincoln's sarcophagus. His wife and first three sons are buried in the tomb with him. His eldest and longest-living son is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, due to his stature as a politician and ambassador during his own lifetime. Many times friends tried to convince him to run for the presidency but he always turned it down, saying that there was something "fatalistic" about wanting to become president.
Considering the assassination attempts on those who followed his father in that office, there's something to be said for that. And, he had some really big footsteps to follow. I'm sure he knew that no matter how good a president, he would never measure up to his father. I don't believe many today would.