Sunday, November 24, 2019

An Amazing Visit To A Local Hero's Tomb

Calm, inviting, comforting, that's all I felt in abundance when I entered the burial place of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Since I moved to Illinois in 2012, Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield had always been on my vacation list. Lincoln is a man who needs no introduction, and His tomb is one of the most beautiful in the state of Illinois. As a historian and an American, the final resting places of Heroes has always fascinated me, to know that their bodies are right there before you, and that if you could open their coffins, you might still be able to see the marks on their bodies and bones from so long ago that marked pivotal moments in their lives. As a member of a minority religion, Lincoln has always held a sacred place in my heart because of the fact that He fought and died for the ideal that we are all created equal, and that the rights of humanity are not reserved only for one race or culture. His body lied before me this weekend, as a martyr to that cause which gave me and my family our blessed freedom upon this land.

As an ancient Greek, I found myself equally fascinated by the ancient Greek Hero worship that goes on at His tomb every single day. For one, the tomb is unique and set apart from all the others in the cemetery as a sacred and protected place, and people will go there to gain Lincoln's favor. One way they do this is by rubbing the nose of His statue outside the front entrance, which you can see my own son doing in the picture above. The nose of the bust is severely worn down from all of the invocations Lincoln has received here. If that's not an example of ancient Greek Hero worship, I don't know what is, and people do it with each passing hour, most not even realizing it. It's wonderful to see how the ancient customs continue over into our own culture.

When you enter the tomb, you find that almost everything is made of beautiful marble, and ancient Greek wave patterns encircle the floor at the main entrance around Lincoln's main indoor statue, or if we're honest with ourselves, a shrine, which you can see to your right. As you walk through the conjoining hallways, you find many other statues and engravings on the walls of His most famous histories and speeches, my favorite being the Gettysburg Address. One statue I really loved was called The Debater, a replica from Lincoln's historic debate with Stephen Douglas in Freeport, Illinois when He was running for president. Freeport was the first city I lived in when I moved to Illinois. Finally, you come to the burial chamber itself. Lincoln's headstone is a massive marble monument. Ten feet blow it rests His remains. Across from His crypt is that of His wife and most of His children. 

Going into Lincoln's tomb, I didn't feel southern or northern; I felt American. I prayed to Him as a Hero of my state several times while I was there at His grave, hoping for His blessings in my life. His presence was grounded toward me, not opposing. I felt that I could stay there all day if I liked. I love this man. If only He could come back and talk to us, the things He could tell and remember. Solon would most certainly be proud of Him, because He didn't do what was popular in His life, He did what was right, no matter how hard. He had enemies at every turn, and yet He still changed the American world forever. Before Him there was slavery and division, and after Him, the American ideal was possible. 

However, not all people have come to my own mindset. Upon leaving, I got into a conversation with the woman who operates the tomb. She is also considered its guard, because there is still the fear that haters will come there and desecrate it in the name of the Confederacy. Only the lowest forms of life destroy the grave of a dead person. I can't imagine how trashy someone's mind has to be, but I am certainly thankful for the service and bravery of the guard. If I lived in the city and didn't have my own career, I'd also be more than happy and anxious to help guard Lincoln's tomb.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Most Read Blog Posts

Blog Archive