Friday, October 11, 2002

So Costly A Sacrifice

There's a story in today's Washington Post
about the mother of the Marine who was killed this week in Kuwait. Turns out she has another son in the Marine Corps. She has asked that he be transferred back to the United States. The story reminded me of Lincoln's letter to the Widow Bixby, which follows:

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864

Dear Madam, --I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts, that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours, to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom. Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln.