The Hex In Lincoln’s Tomb

Deep inside Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, stands a granite tomb built for President Abraham Lincoln. Between 1868 and 1931 the insides and contents of the tomb had constantly changed, but since 1931, when Herbert Hoover rededicated the tomb to the State of Illinois as a historic landmark, the interior of the tomb has stayed the same. By 1966 Lincoln’s Tomb was placed on the historic register of the nation, but none of these prestigious titles is what brings people to the burial site of Abraham Lincoln. No, it’s the myth more than the man that calls people to visit the tomb of the “Great Emancipator.”

Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois.

In the last couple years, Lincoln’s myth has gained, well, even more myth, with the help of movies like Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer, and one can assure a resurgence in interest in the martyred President with the release of Steven Spielberg’s new film, Lincoln, but Lincoln’s accurate biography and his myth both be damned. When you visit Lincoln’s Tomb, like all sites of reverence and/or history, there’s something in between the myth and the facts of a person that can be filled by each individual. For me, walking the hexagon shape of the halls within the tomb are a reminder that every museum, monument and town that bears the name of Lincoln, or celebrates the life of the slain President, elevates the actions of the man and obscures the fact that he was indeed a human being—a man with needs, wants. Continue reading