President Abraham Lincoln & Memorial Day
President Abraham Lincoln & Memorial Day, We pause once again from our usual political analysis and commentary to recognize what should be one of our nation’s most cherished holidays. Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It’s origins date back to the Civil War as a day to commemorate fallen Union soldiers, yet Southerners also decorated Confederate graves of those lost in the great war.
I am reminded this Memorial Day of the letter President Abraham Lincoln wrote to a grieving Mrs. Bixby who had paid an enormous price to defend the Union. In recognizing her loss, Lincoln writes: Mrs. Bixby, Boston, Massachusetts: Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
Lincoln was correct. No words could ever describe the way this mother must have felt. She gave all for the sake of her country and few would ever truly know the enormity of her pain.