Dear President Lincoln,
Two hundred years ago you were born in the hinterlands of Kentucky. Who, standing along the banks of the Ohio River, on that late-winter day, knew that your life would become so meaningful? From Springfield lawyer to the highest office in the land, you left a mark. Not just anyone would have made the decisions you made in office; emancipation was not a done deal in 1862. Morally, it was a forgone evil and you knew it had to end. Politically, it took strength and courage. It would be you - along with a burgeoning abolitionist movement - who stepped up to give history a swift push toward the "better angels of our nature."
Along the way, you overcame tired-out generals and a wicked depression. You also made mistakes that other American leaders would duplicate 200 years later. Far from perfect, you were the country's leader during a time when leadership was essential and you kept a Union together.
You were also a fatalist. You knew that if someone wanted to take your life, they could - and they did. So, two hundred years later, history offers us a full view of your time on earth, including the good and the bad. In a life cut short, you made a difference, which is what we should all strive for. Thank you for your effort, your words and sacrifice.
Sleep well, Mr. President.
For a list of reviews on choice items in the Sacramento Public Library covering the life of Abraham Lincoln, click here.