Learning from History
I love American history and enjoy visiting historical sites throughout our nation. A few years ago, we took our children, Elizabeth and Joel, through the state of Virginia visiting
historical sites of the Civil War. Needless to say, even though we enjoyed the wonderful water park located in Williamsburg, we overdosed our children on history that summer. One of the historical places that I have longed to visit was Abraham Lincoln’s tomb. A few weeks ago, the opportunity to visit Lincoln’s grave arose.
We drove to Springfield, Illinois, for the wedding of one of our college students, Chace Conrad. On Saturday morning, after I went over the sermon for Sunday morning, we drove to Oak Ridge Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln is buried. Lincoln has always been my favorite president. I read a great book about Lincoln called, With Malice Toward None, by Stephen B. Oates. When you enter Lincoln’s tomb, there is a solemnity about that hallowed place that is surreal. The room where Lincoln is buried also contains the crypts where his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and three of their four sons are buried. His son, Robert Todd Lincoln, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. In the burial room of Lincoln’s tomb, there are nine flags. From left to right, the first flag is our national flag. The next four flags represent the states where Lincoln’s ancestors lived before they came to Kentucky. Those states are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The next three flags represent the states where Lincoln lived beginning with Kentucky, then Indiana, and finally, Illinois. The last flag is the Presidential flag. In the burial room there is a large marble stone that sits thirty inches in front of the place where Lincoln is buried. His casket lies ten feet below the surface of the marble floor. As I left Lincoln’s tomb, I did so with an even greater appreciation and love for our country.
As the month of July approaches, we celebrate the birthday of our country, July 4! How will we celebrate the history of our nation? Will we celebrate with parties and fireworks? Will we celebrate with thanksgiving to our Lord for this nation? Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” The history of our nation is another example of God’s great providence and how He interacts with the ongoing history of the world.