“Hey Mr. Lincoln – Where’d You Get The Beard?”
Anytime Americans are asked who they believe to be one of the greatest presidents in our Nation’s history, one of the top three listed is always this man, Abraham Lincoln. Just the mention of his name brings to our mind’s eye a tall lean man wearing that familiar top hat, most always looking quite serious, and, sometimes, almost sad.
But there was a reason for Mr. Lincoln’s sadness. He was President of our United States during one of the saddest times in our history, our own Civil War, when brother literally fought against brother, and far more brave Americans were killed in that 5-year period than during any other war in our nation’s history.
But, why do we love and admire Abraham Lincoln so? And what do we really know about him? Well, first, regarding Lincoln’s beard – did you know that most all his life Abraham Lincoln never wore a beard, or even any facial hair at all? He was clean shaving. But, in 1860, when Lincoln was 51 years old and running for U.S. President, he received a letter from a little girl named Grace Bedell who lived in Westfield, New York.
She wrote that she had seen his picture and thought he would look better with whiskers. She promised that if he would grow a beard, she would try her best to convince her older brothers, all Democrats, to vote for him. Lincoln wrote her back a letter thanking her for her interest in his appearance but that regarding a beard he said, “Do you think people would call it a piece of silly affection if I should begin it now?”
But Lincoln did change his mind, and when he was elected President and on his way to Washington D.C. for his Presidential inauguration, interestingly enough, the train he was riding stopped in Westfield. Lincoln stepped out of the train and inquired as to where little Grace Bedell lived in town. But she was already there, in the crowd. He asked her to come forward to see that he had allowed his whiskers to grow at her request. He picked her up and gave her a kiss while the crowd cheered its approval. From that day on, President Lincoln wore a beard.
Sadly, on April 15, 1865, President Abe Lincoln was shot while watching a Play at Ford’s Theatre. When he died – the Nation wept. Yes, Mr. Lincoln was not only a great President, but a great man who followed God. Oh, that we could have him here today to lead our America.