Touching Lincoln: 16th president spent most of his adult life in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD – “Be sure to use the handrail,” national park guide Ronnie van Nostrand said as he led a small tour group upstairs in the only home Abraham Lincoln ever owned. “It’s the same railing Mr. Lincoln used.”
We had all come to Springfield for just such a brush with the real Lincoln, before he left for the White House – and lasting fame – in 1861. In this unassuming city in central Illinois, the self-educated man polished his persona, married, suffered a child’s death, famously declared “a house divided against itself cannot stand,” and unwittingly prepared for his pivotal role in our nation. This spot, more than a Kentucky cabin or a monument in Washington, D.C., illuminates Lincoln’s whole life.
When the 16th president of the United States was assassinated a mere five days after the end of the Civil War – and on Good Friday, the day that marks the death of Jesus on the cross – the country’s intrigue with the towering, brooding man had just begun. Now, as the nation marks the 150th anniversaries of various Civil War battles, that fascination is being reignited.
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