As this country approaches the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, I am not seeing the attention that this noteworthy landmark in history should be receiving. In the media almost nothing is being said. Fifty years ago when the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of Lincoln and the start of the Civil War was being observed, things were different. President Kennedy’s first law (the signing of H.J. Res 155) was for a joint committee to commemorate Lincoln’s first inauguration. A big event was planned in Washington, including a re-enactment of Abraham Lincoln being sworn in as President. There were actors dressed in period costumes. The “Lincolns” rode down Pennsylvania Avenue in the actual carraige used by U.S. Grant and his wife. There were almost 20,000 spectators of the event-more than double, by the way, of the number that were present at the real Lincoln inaugural. Carl Sandburg gave a speech to mark the occasion. Senator Sam Rayburn also made comments. Here are excerpts:
Senator Sam Rayburn:
“Prejudice, hate, agitation brought about the Civil War. I have always thought if it had not been for hotheads in the South and the inane and insane agitators of the North that Abraham Lincoln, by his justice, his fairness, his great statesmanship, would have prevented the Civil War which destroyed the flower of our young manhood in this country that at that time was so sorely needed.
As a son of a Confederate soldier, who did what he thought was right, I say for him and for myself after that was over, he was proud our great Union was preserved…”
“…There are careless generations who drift, dawdle, decay. Still others leave tall landmarks of liberty, of discovery, invention, and culture, setting targets of achievement at which no succeeding generation can take a horse laugh of derision and belittlement. What the young people want and dream across the next 100 years will shape history more than any other motivation to be named. Youth now living and youth as yet unborn hold the seeds and secrets of the folds to be unfolded in the shapes to come…” “As the new President, 100 years ago, slept his first night in the White house…it was a great day in American history, of which we might say it was sunset and dawn, moonrise and noon sun, dry leaves in an autumn wind, and springtime blossoms, dying time and birthing hour.”
It seems to me that this hour of the dawn of the 150th observance of the Civil War is calling for the Carl Sandburgs of our land to call attention to it’s meaning for us today. Where are they? Where are the Sam Rayburns? Who shall speak for us? Good questions all…Mail this post