How many today even comprehend the role he played in preserving our unalienable rights and liberties, and yes, even our nation?
He was born in poverty and died at the hands of an assassin, as president of the United States of America.
Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King have one thing in common. They both fought slavery and they both gave their life to seal their commitment to the freedom of all people.
And, I believe, both men climbed ‘that high mountain’ and felt the reassurance of a ministering angel sent by the Almighty to ease their pain and lift their spirits.
Leadership is a lonely world for those who are raised up to lead difficult battles for freedom, as did both Lincoln and King — and Moses.
And in both cases their successors failed to attain the grand visions both these men had.
Today I am praising Lincoln for doing what the Founders could not accomplish while writing the Constitution; abolish slavery from the American soil.
Lincoln, known for his Gettysburg address and issuing the Emancipation Proclamation by executive order, truly deserves the magnificent monument that stands today in his honor. His blood was not spilt in vain.
His words and actions live on as a testimony not only to him but to the nation he governed for four years.
Can you imagine what would have happened had Lincoln not prevailed in that ugly war of brother against brother? America would today be two nations always at war one with another, never to achieve the greatness that America’s Preamble suggests it would become.
The wounds of that war still have not healed. America has yet to learn to forgive as the Savior taught, or as General Grant did during General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.
Grant set a pattern for peaceful settlements most warring nations never accomplish. The victor, in this case Grant, negotiated with Lee as gentlemen; and they parted as gentlemen.
The next day they met again for a half hour. There was no bitterness, no hatred. Later, in accepting the nomination for the presidency of the United States, Grant said “Let us have peace.”
Wow! What a statement! “Let us have peace.” What a novel idea.
J. Reuben Clark Jr. stated in his book, “Stand Fast by Our Constitution,” “Peace has been the pearl of great price, coveted, searched for, by man during all the ages.”
But peace is illusive as the world continues to search for peace even today.
We in the United States today, 2013, like Lincoln’s people of 1861, are again at the crossroads, badly divided over many issues — today its guns and the 2nd amendment.
One side wants to restore our Constitution’s ‘unalienable rights,’ the other side has voted for ‘socialized slavery’ that comes when “the people” vote, often ignorantly, for the false promises of those wanting to destroy the Constitution.
Far too many have forgotten it was the Creator who said “Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.”
Lincoln, speaking on Feb. 22, 1861, said “The Declaration of Independence which gave liberty not alone to the people of this country, but hope to the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise, that in due time the weights [of slavery] would be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all [mankind] should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence … I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it.”
This remains the intent of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.
Lincoln was one of the few who comprehended that Jefferson’s phrase, “the Laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God,” was the foundational cornerstone for the liberties and freedoms this nation has enjoyed thus far.
Lincoln again clarified his position on Feb. 23, 1861, with these words: “Freedom is the natural condition of the human race, in which the Almighty intended me to live. Those who fight the purpose of the Almighty will not succeed. They always have been, they always will be, beaten.”
I hope each of us will take a moment next Wednesday to reflect on this man who gave his life that all Americans could be free. Freedom’s battle continues, and it will continue so long as wicked men want to rule and control the lives, thoughts and goals of us, the common people.
“We the People” of America must continue the fight to remain free — yes, even to own a gun.
Donald Conkey is a retired agricultural economist in Woodstock.