Mr. Lincoln and his famous address at Gettysburg have been a part of my family heritage for seven generations. My East Tennessee Boyd-Winchester ancestors supported Lincoln’s efforts to keep the Union together. Several of them served in Mr. Lincoln’s Army. Two Winchester boys died in that service, one in the infamous Andersonville POW camp.
Grandfather F.C. Boyd quoted from the Gettysburg Address in a speech while serving as our county's Farm Bureau president in the 1940s. My Dad respected Mr. Lincoln and prominently displayed in our home a set of Carl Sandburg’s biography of Abraham Lincoln. Papa also drove Lincoln automobiles from 1958 until his passing in 2004. When in high school, I memorized the Gettysburg Address to recite before our Senior English class.
My artist cousin Danny Phifer executed a fine etching of Lincoln’s profile and presented me with one. It has hung in my home for four decades.
We have toured many Lincoln sites: In 1967, I visited the Lincoln Museum at Lincoln Memorial University in East Tennessee. When my son was young, we took him to Springfield to visit the Lincoln home and burial place. Later, we visited the Lincoln birthplace in Kentucky. My family and I have toured Gettysburg twice. And, we recently took grandchildren to the impressive Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Indiana.
To commemorate Mr. Lincoln's 200th birthday anniversary in February 1809, I felt compelled to write a personal tribute to this good man and great leader who inspired people worldwide. His example continues to inspire those who study his life. Abraham Lincoln and his immortal words live on in our minds and in our hearts.