Well, it is time again in the McClarey household for our mini three day July vacation. (We take a week off in June and August.) Today we make our annual pilgrimage down to Springfield to the Lincoln sites. We say a prayer at the tomb of Mr. Lincoln for the repose of his soul and the souls of his wife and children. All of Lincoln’s immediate family are buried there except Robert Lincoln, a Civil War veteran, who is buried in Arlington.
We also go to the Lincoln Museum, which is first rate. For those of you with time to kill, go here to watch a CSpan two and a half hour (!) tour from 2005 of the Lincoln Museum.
The day wouldn’t be complete without a stopover at the Prairie Archives, one of the finest bookstores in the State of Illinois, with a special emphasis on Civil War and American history tomes.
Except for the politicians who infest it, Springfield is a lovely town. Filled with historical sites, it retains a small town feel. You can park on the street at very little cost, and life tends to move at a sedate Central Illinois pace most of the time.
It is a pleasant day for us, these annual Lincoln trips, and a significant one. Our experiment in democracy in this country is of vital importance, not just for Americans but for all of mankind. Lincoln to me stands for the best in our American democracy. His memory helps me realize that beyond the backstabbing and the self-serving that often seem to be all there is in public life, there are also great principles that must be guarded and fought for by each generation. My wife and I do our best to help pass on this understanding to our kids, and we believe our trips to Springfield help us accomplish this.