YOUNG VOICES: Act more like Lincoln, and united we'll stand

2012-11-26T00:00:00Z YOUNG VOICES: Act more like Lincoln, and united we'll standBy Grace Asiegbu
November 26, 2012 12:00 am  • 

While many teenage girls my age (and adults, too) were lining up outside movie theaters at all hours of the day and night to see "Breaking Dawn Part 2," I quickly made my way to "Lincoln," the movie about our 16th president’s last days in office.

It was a riveting performance, and it was remarkably accurate to President Abraham Lincoln’s actual last days. Lincoln is probably the best president this fine country has ever seen, but why is that?

Lincoln is the embodiment of the American dream, of the American spirit. He was born in a log cabin in Kentucky, to two poor parents. Even though he didn't have much formal education, he found a way for himself and learned all he wanted to on his own.

He went on to become a successful lawyer, and was an Illinois state representative. He was elected president on Nov. 6, 1860. Soon after that, South Carolina seceded from the Union, and all hell broke loose in America.

After four bloody years and nearly 1 million Americans dead, the war came to a close, resulting in Union victory and the abolition of slavery. Five days after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, the president was shot in the back of the head by John Wilkes Booth while watching a play with his wife.

Lincoln wasn't a man without faults. He was, however, a man who redefined what it truly means to be American. He cared for everyone, no matter their race, walk, of life, where they were from, or where they were going. He genuinely had a love for the American people, and lately, that’s an area where many politicians fall short.

He had a tough job, trying to preserve the Union, abolish slavery and end the war, all at the same time. He even said it himself, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” All of this can take a toll on a person’s conscience.

But Abraham Lincoln never lacked ambition and determination. He was going to end slavery, end the war and keep the Union together, even if he had to lose his life because of it. And he did.

I urge everyone -- including me -- to model their behavior and way of thinking after our president. He believed in the vision of America, and so should we.

We’re not just a country of Democrats or Republicans, of liberals or conservatives, or wherever you happen to fall within that spectrum. We’re a country of people, all of us united for a cause greater than ourselves.

In times that are this politically split, we need to remember all the sacrifice, all the tears, all the bloodshed that got us to where we are today. We have always been here for each other, are all here for each other now, and we always will be.

Abraham Lincoln said it best: “With malice towards none, with charity for all.”

Grace Asiegbu, of Lynwood, is a junior at Thornton Fractional South High School. The opinions are the writer's.

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