History had connected the dots – the one-room log cabin, the lack of formal education and the self-taught lawyer – with bold lines of determination that rendered extraordinary substance to the image of a man who by all accounts was quite ordinary.
Springfield, Illinois had nurtured and then launched this humble, self-made man into the national spotlight where the glare of another bright light, slavery, had rendered Lincoln a man of considerable moral and ethical convictions.
I thought about Shakespeare’s view that some men are born with greatness, some men achieve greatness, others have greatness thrust upon them. Seeing the melancholy around Lincoln’s eyes, it occurred to me humanity might have thrust greatness onto this David dealing with a Goliath of a Civil War. His service was not without the ultimate sacrifice.
It was inspiring to wander the streets of Springfield, to truly meet the man behind the myth. His life was all about diligence, vision, character, and courage; in spite of the poverty and the tragedy. He simply refused to allow circumstance to define his destiny.
Yes, sometimes if we're brave and bold it is truly possible, in the course of a single lifetime, to change history for the better, be it family, community or country.