I love history, and I love cemeteries. Not sure when and how both came to be a part of my life, but they are both here to stay. I have seen some AMAZING Cemeteries that are just mind blowing on the monument structures and the beautiful grounds, and Oak Ridge Cemetery is at the top of the list. The rolling hills of this beautiful and peaceful place make sense for an amazing man and President like himself to rest. He is joined by Mary and three of his four sons, his other son is buried at Arlington Cemetery. Arlington is the number one visited Cemetery, followed by a close second is this one. I have been blessed to have visited both now.First, let me start with reservations. Yes, you need to reserve online a “spot” to go inside his tomb to see his grave stone and it is definitely worth seeing! Its free to do so, but due to Covid, they will NOT let you in without a reserved spot and time. It isn’t really a tour, the guide told us a little about the tomb before entering, but you enter in by yourself, and away from others, so it’s definitely a safe thing to do. Also Masks ARE required while in the Tomb area. The outside looks like something you would find at Gettysburg – ironically were he gave his infamous address. They have a HUGE bust of his face in the front area (where his nose has been rubbed many a time- apparently it’s a thing for good luck- but NOT during a Pandemic- so hands off Abe!) They are on top of the tomb stands what looks like Washingtons Monument from D.C. but we were told that those pillar momunents came from the Egyptians and that Politicians liked to look to them as royalty so hence why he has this huge monument to show the regality that was Lincoln. There is a stautue of him, and then four groups of statues that are on each corner, representing the four branches of Military at the time. There are then crests to represent the States, and the Guide said they needed to add a second tier to the Monument so they would have room for all of the Crests. They had the second tier that had steps leading up to it blocked off for the public, so I could only see from the ground up.Originally Abe and his sons bodies were placed in this Temporary Vault, or “receiving tomb,” on the bottom of the hill, guarded after thieves tried to steal Lincoln’s body. It was said that the public could come and view his casket through it’s iron gates. They were then moved halfway up the hill until the final resting place now, buried under the Lincoln Memorial. The Vault was actually quite creepy and I felt very off around it.The time had come to go inside the Tomb, and I was pretty excited to see it. It was the closest thing I was going to get to meeting the guy, and it was definitely a somber experience. The marble hallways, the bronze statues, you didn’t feel like you were in a tomb but a Museum. And then past the iron gates, his headstone, HUGE mind you, with the graves of his family on the other side of the walkway. Flags surround his stone, along with ropes so you can’t touch it. It’s probably weird I wanted too.. He rests ten feet below the stone, and all I could hear in my head was “Thank you for being a great President.” I gave my respects and headed out, no one around me which was nice to have the silence and privacy for the moment. It was a nice book end to seeing so much about his life that day in Springfield. To check out more of his life and story, visit my other blog posts on my “Love for Lincoln” series HERE. Enjoy!
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