We Celebrate Birthdays Of Two Great Presidents

To The Reader’s Forum:

This month our nation celebrates the birthdays of perhaps our two greatest presidents, the 18th century father and the 19th century preserver of our republic.

The following letter, to Mrs. Bixby, was written by the second of these men after he had been re-elected President of the United States with a majority of the electrocal College of 212 to 21. The empathy, humility and eloquence contained in his words could not, in my opinion, be duplicated by any other leader in our history.

The text is as follows:

Executive Mansion

Washington, Nov. 21, 1864

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the war Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln.

Dr. James Dahlie,