Monday, August 06, 2007
The 3 major participants Chief Justice (ex Pres) William H. Taft 1857-1930, President Warren G. Harding 1865-1923, Robert Lincoln 1843-1926.
Crowds and veterans wait in the late spring sun for the dedication to take place. Also to take a look at the Chief Justice. Who would be the master of ceremonies, See the President who was such a splendid speaker, and Robert Lincoln who was the last living link to the the 16th President in 1922...It would also be his last public appearance. It was an event that had been anticipated for decades. Finally over 60 years after he had taken office, Lincoln's magnificent temple was dedicated.
At the event the North and South were on hand..Old veterans from the Blue and the Gray were there hand in hand as they came to honor the man who saved the nation.
Lastly, there was a contest for a poem to be read at the event...The winner was Edward Markham. He read his poem entitled..."Lincoln, the man of the people".
This poem was chosen out of two-hundred-fifty Lincoln poems by the committee headed by Chief Justice Taft, to be read at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., in 1922.
One hundred thousand people were present and two-million more were listening in on the radio.
President Warren Harding delivered the address. Then Edwin Markham read his poem.
Lastly, there was an early public address system and there were amplifying horns placed on the top of the memorial so the many spectators could hear. It gave a somewhat baseball stadium sound, but it was one of the first attempts to use such a system. If you look at the picture of the dedication you can see the horns all along the top of the memorial.
There were no recordings made of the event. So those who were there, and those who had a radio, were able to hear the addresses and the poem like no one else would ever hear.
Here is the poem...
Lincoln, the Man of the People
When the Norn Mother saw the Whirlwind Hour
Greatening and darkening as it hurried on,
She left the Heaven of Heroes and came down
To make a man to meet the mortal need.
She took the tried clay of the common road--
Clay warm yet with the genial heat of Earth,
Dasht through it all a strain of prophecy,
Tempered the heap with thrill of human tears
Then mixt a laughter with the serious stuff,
Into the shape she breathed a flame to light
That tender, tragic, ever-changing face;
And laid on him a sense of the Mystic Powers,
Moving--all husht-behind the mortal vail.
Here was a man to hold against the world,
A man to match the mountains and the sea.
The color of the ground was in him, the red earth,
The smack and tang of elemental things:
The rectitude and patience of the cliff,
The good-will of the rain that loves all leaves,
The friendly welcome of the wayside well,
The courage of the bird that dares the sea,
The gladness of the wind that shakes the corn
The pity of the snow that hides all scars,
The secrecy of streams that makes their way
Under the mountain to the rifted rock,
The tolerance and equity of light
That gives as freely to the shrinking flower
As to the great oak flaring to the wind--
To the grave's low hill as to the Matterhorn
That shoulders out the sky. Sprung from the West,
He drank the valorous youth of a new world.
The strength of virgin forests braced his mind,
The hush of spacious prairies stilled his soul.
His words were oaks in acorns; and his thoughts
Were roots that firmly gript the granite truth.
Up from log cabin to the Capitol,
One fire was on his spirit, one resolve--
To send the keen ax to the root of wrong,
Clearing a free way for the feet of God,
The eyes of conscience testing every stroke,
To make his deed the measure of a man.
He built the rail-pile as he built the State,
Pouring his splendid strength through every blow:
The grip that swung the ax in Illinois
Was on the pen that set a people free.
So came the Captain with the mighty heart;
And when the judgment thunders split the house,
Wrenching the rafters from their ancient rest,
He held the ridgepole up, and spikt again
The rafters of the Home. He held his place--
Held the long purpose like a growing tree--
Held on through blame and faltered not at praise--
Held on in calm rough-hewn sublimity.
And when he fell in whirlwind, he went down
As when a lordly cedar, green with boughs,
Goes down with a great shout upon the hills,
And leaves a lonesome place against the sky.
Then the temple was given to the people....Eighty five years ago in 1922.