"The real voyage of Discovery lies not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes"
Marcel Proust

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Funeral Train

This past week I was in Springfield, Illinois-- brought home by the passing of my grandmother. Each day as my mother and I made our daily trips through downtown, coming home from a day of  packing memories into boxes at my grandmother's apartment, I passed the train station where Abraham Lincoln's body was brought back to Springfield.  Today it is the Amtrak station and rush hour traffic disregards the famous depot where on May 3, 1865, his friends gathered to say their tearful farewell to him. The railway tracks along I-55 are perhaps just as casually and unintentionally forgotten as a place of such historical significance-- seen as a commuter railway from Chicago to Springfield rather than a famous funeral route in US history. This week I also read an article sent to me by Bill Kemp, a librarian from the McLean County Museum of History, which details that train ride home. Kemp wrote of funeral arches that spanned the railroad tracks..."The Bloomington arch carried the message, "Go to thy rest," while the town of Lincoln's read, "With malice to none, with charity for all," and the one in Williamsville, "He has fulfilled his mission." Thanks, Bill, for those incredible images that decorate our vision and bring an emotional attachment to those steel rails!

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