The saddest day in the life of Abraham Lincoln?
There were many sad days for Lincoln. The day his mother Nancy died had to be one. He was only nine years old. Imagine how hard that was. Young Abe assisted his father in building her casket. She had died a slow and painful death- of the “milksick.” Then there was the death of Ann Rutledge. Depending on what you want to believe about the story. Lincoln was possibly brokenhearted and suicidal over her loss. She was thought to be his sweetheart by many. Later in his life he lost two sons-Eddie and Willie. Lincoln suffered the the losses of so many loved ones during his life. There is much more to be said, of course. Any of those events could have been his saddest day. Some might quip that Lincoln’s saddest day was the day he married Mary Todd (did someone invoke the name of William Herndon?).
My vote goes to February 11, 1861. That particular day should have been one of the happiest days of Lincoln’s life. He was president-elect Lincoln. Early that morning in Springfield-with rain pouring down-Lincoln boarded a train at the depot to say goodbye to his hometown as he left for Washington. He had lived there for 25 years. He had the only home he ever owned there. His roots had been established. He made a family and a career there. That day, as he said goodbye, he felt the weight of the world on him. The nation was already splitting apart. He felt that his burden was greater than any president before him-even George Washington. More than that, he knew his life would be forever changed. He felt that he probably would not be returning back (yes, Lincoln got spooky at times). He also knew about fate-or at least-believed in it. He understood that fate had brought him to that unique point in history and in his life-and he couldn’t change it. Somehow, I think, he felt that it was his lot to play the key role in the drama that was unfolding in America-and when it was done he would not survive it. He was truly saying “goodbye.” That’s what made it the saddest day of his life. What do you think think?
Mail this post