Monday, August 17, 2015

Lincoln Tomb and War Memorials, 8/16/2015

The Lincoln Tomb marks the graves of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865); his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln (1818-1882); and three of their four sons (Edward, 1846-1850, William, 1850-1842, and Thomas, 1853-71). Robert (1843-1926) is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  

The first burial service for Lincoln was held at the White House on April 19, 1865. He lay in state at the Capitol Building Rotunda the following day. His remains and that of  his son, William, were transported on a special train for the journey to Springfield (1,700 miles). There were funerals held in 10 cities along the way on the 12-day trip.

The National Lincoln Monument Association was formed about 10 days after the president was assassinated. They raised about $170,000 to build this monument in Oak Ridge Cemetery (selected by Mrs. Lincoln as the final resting place for her husband). Sculpture Larkin G. Mead, Jr., won the competition held in 1868 to determine the design of the tomb. 

The tomb is made of granite with an obelisk that is 117' high. The bronze statue of Lincoln is holding the Emancipation Proclamation. Sculptures representing the major armed services (infantry, cavalry, navy, and artillery) during the Civil War are feature on the four corners of the tomb. Sixty-five cannon were donated by the US government to construct the sculptures.

The remains of Lincoln and his son (Willie) were held in a temporary vault in Oak Ridge from 1865-1871 while the tomb was under construction. President Grant dedicated the tomb in October, 1874. 

In front of the tomb is a bronze bust Lincoln (the original is in Washington, DC) by  Gutzon Borglum (famous for his work at Mount Rushmore).  Folks touch his nose for good luck. Of course, I did the same!

The interior of the tomb is very impressive with marble-covered hallways and floors. 

There are various bronze statues of Lincoln and plaques that commemorate important periods of Lincoln's career. 

There are engraved walls in the burial chamber that designate where Mrs. Lincoln and the three sons are interred. 

The red marble memorial stone marks Abraham Lincoln's grave. His remains are buried in a vault about 10' below it. The flags in the burial chamber represent the states where Lincoln and his relatives lived. The presidential flag can also be found.

This is such as impressive monument! I had not idea it was so large until we saw it today. The interior was upgraded to its present state during a major reconstruction in 1930. Be sure to enter through the door in the front of the tomb to see it. 

Also located in the Oak Ridge Cemetery are three large War Memorials honoring the Illinois men and women who served and died in World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Wars. While we were driving through the cemetery we also saw these. The first is a small memorial to veterans of the Spanish American War and the second the Civil War.

The World War II Illinois Memorial (dedicated in 2004) honors the Illinois servicemen who served and the 22,000 who died during the war. The black granite walls on each side list the major battles of the Pacific and Atlantic Theaters in chronological order. The globe symbolizes the 200 countries involved in the war. Major battles are identified on the globe.

The Illinois Korean Memorial was dedicated in 1996 to the Illinois natives who served between 1950-1953. The names of the 1,753 who were killed are inscribed on the base of the memorial. 

Also located here is a memorial to the Battle at Chosin Reservoir, November-December, 1950, where 12,000 of 15,000 were killed. Seventeen Medals of Honor and 70 Navy Crosses were awarded following the intense, extended battle.

The Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors those who served in this war and was dedicated in 1988. The names of 2,988 Illinois servicemen who died or are still MIA are engraved on the black granite walls of the memorial. An eternal flame burns at the top of the monument.

Each of the panels represents one of the four branches of the armed services with the names of those who received the Medal of Honor as well as those killed in action or still missing.

Oak Ridge is a large and beautiful cemetery. It is always a somber and thought-provoking experience to visit tombs and monuments, especially of those who died too young. 

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