O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman


                                           O Captain! My Captain!

“O Captain! My Captain!

Our fearful trip is done;

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

But O heart! heart! heart!

O bleeding drops of red, where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.”

Walt Whitman (excerpt), 1865: in response to the assassination of Lincoln


It was my great honor to be a part of the Death Day Ceremony held at Abraham Lincoln’s tomb in April 2007. I represented the Israel B. Richardson Camp ( # 2) of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Department of Michigan. Many of us, including myself, were dressed in the blue uniform of the Union soldier. It was quite striking to see. I remember thinking at the time, while standing in the drizzling rain, that even today we all sense a deep loss for “our Captain” President Lincoln. That sense was made greater walking into the tomb. As one move towards the rear of the tomb where Lincoln is buried, a series of statues are posted along the wall depicting various phases of Lincoln’s life. Finally, in the back of the inside of the building is the grave with it’s impressive marker. I stood there in awe not saying a word. I felt like I was in a holy sanctuary. Others seemed to have the same reaction around me. I think we experienced to a very small degree what the real “boys in blue,” – the Union soldiers, must have felt when they learned that their “Captain” had “fallen on the deck cold and dead.”

B. Nash at Lincoln's tomb

B. Nash at Lincoln's tomb

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One Response to “O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman”

  1. Nate says:

    His memory lives on…

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