Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

On this day in 1868, a crowd of 5,000 gathers at Arlington National Cemetery for the first Decoration Day. This day is now known as Memorial Day.

It was a few weeks earlier, on May 5, that General John A. Logan, leader of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization for Union Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance.
General Logan stated: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

Then, at Arlington, James A Garfield, who would become the 20th president, addressed the crowd:
“The faith of our people in the stability and permanence of their institutions was like their faith in the eternal course of nature. Peace, liberty, and personal security were blessings as common and universal as sunshine and showers and fruitful seasons; and all sprang from a single source, the old American principle that all owe due submission and obedience to the lawfully expressed will of the majority. This is not one of the doctrines of our political system—it is the system itself. It is our political firmament, in which all other truths are set, as stars in Heaven. It is the encasing air, the breath of the Nation’s life.”

Later, he added: “The voices of these dead will forever fill the land like holy benedictions.”… [H]ere let them rest, asleep on the Nation’s heart, entombed in the Nation’s love!

“We honor… we pray…”

More recently, in his Presidential Proclamation Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 1966, President Lyndon B Johnson said:
“On this Memorial Day, as we honor the memory of brave men who have borne our colors in war, we pray to God for His mercy. We pray for the wisdom to find a way to end this struggle of nation against nation, of brother against brother. We pray that soon we may begin to build the only true memorial to man’s valor in war — a sane and hopeful environment for the generations to come.”

He then went on to “urge all of the people of this Nation to join me in prayer to the Almighty for the safety of our Nation’s sons and daughters…, for His blessing on those who have sacrificed their lives for this Nation in this and all other struggles, and for His aid in building a world where freedom and justice prevail, and where all men live in friendship, understanding, and peace.

Indeed, may we pray similarly for all present and future struggles. Finally, may you  have a blessed and reflective Memorial Day.

Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

Clara Barton American Red Cross

On this day in 1881, Clara Barton founds the American Red Cross at age 60. She went on to lead the organization for the next 23 years.

During the American Civil War, Clara earned the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield” for the comfort and care she provided for sick and wounded soldiers. She read to them, wrote letters for them, listened to them, and, perhaps most importantly, she prayed with them. Then, in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned her to search for lost prisoners of war.

Also during the war, Barton brought supplies and support to the all-black Massachusetts 54th Regiment, which had been recruited by Frederick Douglass. Shortly after the war, the two met and built a supportive friendship. Douglass subsequently became a signatory of the original Articles of Incorporation for the American Red Cross.

The need and the strength

The following quote from Clara Barton captures the spirit of our lost founding, from the Declaration, the prayer proclamations, and the perception of Providence:

“You must never so much as think whether you like it or not, whether it is bearable or not; you must never think of anything except the need and how to meet it. Then God gives the strength and the thing that seemed impossible is done.”

 

Clara Barton American Red Cross

Abraham Lincoln Bible

On this day in 1860, Abraham Lincoln, a one-time U.S. representative from Illinois, is nominated for the presidency by the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

Then, in the November election Lincoln became the first Republican to win the presidency.

Thus, here is an excerpt from his inaugural address, with the American Civil War looming:

“Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people.”

“All things”

Clearly, Abraham Lincoln had reverence for God and His Word, as exemplified by his quote above and below.

“In regard to this Great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”

That quote inspired Our “Lincoln Bible” shirt, find yours HERE:

Abraham Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

The Golden Spike

On this day in 1869, California Governor Leland Stanford pounds a ceremonial golden spike completing the nation’s first transcontinental railway.

California-based Central Pacific began laying tracks eastward from Sacramento, and eastern-based Union Pacific built west from Omaha. The tracks met in Promontory, Utah.

Continue the Unity

The golden spike is engraved on all four sides, and here are the mighty words from one side:

“May God continue the unity of our Country, as this Railroad unites the two great Oceans of the world. Presented by David Hewes San Francisco.”

Today, an identical spike made at the same time as the original is on display in the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University.

As powerful those words must have been in the wake of the Civil War, they are just as powerful now in our current national climate.

Golden Spike

The Prayer at Valley Forge

Following the Union Army’s devastating loss at the Second Battle of Bull Run in August 1862, the Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks record Abraham Lincoln saying the following about prayer:

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

General George Washington’s legendary Prayer at Valley Forge is depicted in Arnold Friberg’s well-known painting below.

Prayer is vital and encouraged by great Americans throughout our history, both in victory and in defeat.

So, our prayer is that we would continue to offer our prayers and supplications to the Great Governor, the Almighty Author. Let “We the People” acknowledge His hand in guiding our country, as we observe our National Day of Prayer.

Our History, Our Heritage

“The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.”

Unfurl the history of the National Day of Prayer on the National Day of Prayer task force website:

http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/about

George Washington Prayer

 

Ulysses S. Grant

On this day in 1822, the first ever General of the U.S. Army and the 18th President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant is born in Point Pleasant, Ohio.

President Abraham Lincoln promoted Grant to the second Lieutenant General in American history. The first was George Washington.

“The influence of this book”

Later in life, just nine years before he died of cancer in 1885, Grant wrote this in regard to education:

“Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties; write its precepts on your hearts and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book we are indebted for the progress made, and to this we must look as our guide in the future.”

Ulysses S. Grant

Abraham Lincoln last words Holy Land

On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln is shot at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. He died the next morning at approximately 7:22 a.m. Lincoln was the first U.S. president to be assassinated.

The attack came just five days after the end of the American Civil War.

Two Jerusalems

A strong case can be made, based on the “Personal Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln” (kept at the Illinois State Historical Library), a manuscript Noyes W. Miner, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Springfield, Illinois, who wrote of his conversations with Mary Todd Lincoln in 1882, and several other references, that these were Abraham Lincoln’s last words:

“We will visit the Holy Land, and see those places hallowed by the footsteps of the Savior. There is no city on earth I so much desire to see as Jerusalem.”

These are the words that follow in the manuscript:
“and with that word half spoken on his tongue, the bullet from the pistol of the assassin’s entered his brain, and the soul of the great and good President was carried by the Angels to the New Jerusalem & above.”

Abraham Lincoln last words Holy Land

Lincoln’s last words about the Holy Land may be up for debate. However, his words of appreciation for the Holy Bible are not, and we made a shirt based on them:

https://ourlostfounding.com/product/abraham-lincoln-bible-this-great-book/

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

On this day in 1861, the Civil War begins when Confederates fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor in South Carolina.

One or the other

Prior to that, on June 16, 1858, then U.S. Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln uttered these famous words:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.”

In 1860, the majority of the slave states were threatening secession. Then, when Lincoln was elected President, South Carolina immediately initiated secession proceedings.

Prior to Lincoln’s inauguration, March 4, 1861, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas had seceded from the Union.

Finally, four years after the attack on Fort Sumter, the Union defeated the Confederacy with the staggering total of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead.

The concept of “a house divided against itself” is widely known as a statement from Jesus in reference to casting out evil. Matthew, Mark, and Luke recorded it in their gospels. That Abraham Lincoln saw fit to use it regarding slavery makes it that much more powerful.

Abraham Lincoln’s clearly appreciated the Bible, and his about “this great book” inspired one of our first t-shirts:

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

 

Sam Houston tomb inscription

On March 2, 1793, Sam Houston is born in Virginia.

The celebrated liberator of Texas and the first president of the Republic of Texas made it clear that Texas was to become part of the United States.

Sam Houston served for 14 years as a U.S. senator, where he argued for Native American rights.

His antislavery beliefs did not align with the southern ideology of Texas, so he resisted secession from the Union during the 1850s and refused to swear allegiance to the Confederacy when Texas voted to break from the Union in 1861.

Then, after a brief retirement from public service he died in 1863.

Interestingly, March 2 is also the day that Texas declared independence from Mexico.

Attribute Alliteration

Lastly, the inscription on his tomb reads:

A Brave Soldier. A Fearless Statesman.
A Great Orator—A Pure Patriot.
A Faithful Friend, A Loyal Citizen.
A Devoted Husband and Father.
A Consistent Christian—An Honest Man.

 

Sam Houston tomb inscription

Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

On this day in 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln and his entourage arrive at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. They do so amid secrecy and security, avoiding Baltimore where an assassination plot awaited him.

Lincoln did not want to appear cowardly but took the threat seriously, at the insistence of his wife Mary Todd.

Similarly, there is nothing cowardly about Lincoln’s thoughts on the Bible, which inspired Our t-shirt:

Abraham Lincoln Bible t-shirt collage

 

Abraham Lincoln Amendment XIII

On this day in 1865, the House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery in America.

Previously, on June 15, 1864, the amendment “failed for lack of the requisite two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives,” as President Abraham Lincoln stated in his Fourth Annual Message to Congress on December 6, 1864.

Then, he went on “without questioning the wisdom or patriotism of those who stood in opposition, I venture to recommend the reconsideration and passage of the measure at the present session.

The Amendment

AMENDMENT XIII

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Address

Then, a little over a month later, President Lincoln, would deliver his second inaugural address. It reads like sermon.

So, here is a sizable powerful portion of that address:

“Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.”

“These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war.”

“Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether”

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”

 

Abraham Lincoln Amendment XIII