MT. VERNON —
The future of St. Mary’s Church, which sits across the brick street from the Appellate Courthouse and the recently installed statue of Abraham Lincoln depicted as a young lawyer who could not possibly have known during his trips to Mt. Vernon that in the decades to come he would hold a fractured nation together through a Civil War, break the vicious cycle of holding other men as slaves. It is also by Lincoln that the United States remained strong and grew as the world’s only superpower capable of ending a holocaust in the 1940s and averting a nuclear war in the 1960s. Children from other nations may not be able to speak a word of English, but show them a United States penny and they know immediately whose image is depicted. That man is, of course, the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln.
We are truly blessed in Mt. Vernon to have a historic section of town dedicated to this hero among the world renowned Lincoln Trail. This is not by accident or happenstance. It is this way through planning and hard work and countless donations. But it may soon be destroyed, remaining only as a memory for those who have felt touched in a special way from having seen it.
St. Mary’s Church, the building which has been described as the most beautiful and solid building in Mt. Vernon, is scheduled for demolition. As it stands, the work of the master’s hands will be knocked over in less than a day for “progress.” Please take a moment to step back in time and ask why did the people build such an expensive building in 1922, an era of such hard times? The answer came to me last week as I read an old letter sent to me by a friend and Lincoln memorabilia collector.
The letter reads in part, “I was a young boy of only seven years when the neighbor family came by our house in their farm wagon and informed us that President Lincoln’s funeral train would be coming down the railroad tracks in about two hours. My mother rushed out to tell Dad and he quickly hitched the horse to the buggy as Mom put on her Sunday dress and grabbed Dad’s hat. With that we left for town, which was always an adventure in itself. This time the trip was equally sad for us as it was exciting (even for me at the age of seven). When we got near the depot we could see people lining up on both sides of the track. I was anxious to see the engine as we lived several miles from the nearest railroad track.
“Up until this time I had only seen one train and remember how the engine was dirty, black and did a lot of snorting as the smoke belched high into the sky. Finally, and after a long wait I could hear it coming in the distance and as it glided by, the bell slowly rang. I also remember how shiny and beautiful this train was compared to the earlier one I had seen. But one observation sticks in my mind to this very day. It even haunts my memory. I looked up at Mom and Dad and they were both sobbing. Something beyond a seven year olds basic understanding of life was happening here ... but what? I also remember later that night my mother started crying again and left the supper table. I did not understand it then, but as I grew older it inspired me to learn everything I could about the greatest man who ever walked this land. Years later when I helped design this church across the brick street from the Appellate Courthouse, it was to honor this great man. Abraham Lincoln is a saint to people of all nations and religions. Every school child knows or should know that we are free today because of Abraham Lincoln, and without him we may very well be speaking another language.”
Yet a few would rather see the monument they have built turned into a parking lot for cars. And unless our voices are heard and the wishes of future generations are taken into consideration this is exactly what will happen. But it is not too late, and I need your help! Write letters and let your opinion known by the powers that be. As a visitor to Mt. Vernon who has made a career of historic preservation recently said in a city meeting, “Why would the city grant a demolition permit for such a beautiful and historic building?” The response was a quick, “why not?” I am simply asking that we consider the countless reasons “why not” and save our most meaningful building for the future. With a relatively small investment the historic St. Mary’s Church in Mt. Vernon will be preserved for generations to come. The future residents of this area will thank you!
MT. VERNON —
- Stop bullying Editor: Police say they send all reports to the State's Attorney and then, they decide who to go after. I found out one report that I had made was dismissed by the cops. I checked on it and pushed for the city police to do something. I'm still unsure
- Pope Francis is listening to what Catholics want The Pew Research Center poll released Thursday showing that American Catholics strongly favor allowing the use of birth control -- and allowing priests to marry and women to be ordained -- comes as no surprise. It has long been thus. Catholics also c
- To tell good Obamacare changes from bad, ask this question To hear Republicans tell it, the federal government's constant changes to Obamacare, including Wednesday's two-year reprieve for insurance plans that don't meet the law's tough new standards, rank somewhere between treason and Thanksgiving tofurkey o
- And the award goes to ... I've been watching the Academy Awards since Bob Hope was a baby. Back then, they didn't have a different host each year; it was always Bob Hope. Then Johnny Carson took over for a while. Now they audition someone new every few years, but it's such a
- Ryan's deceiving theory of poverty NEW YORK -- This week, the House Budget Committee, led by Republican ideas man Paul Ryan, published a 204-page report cataloging just about every conservative complaint about the federal government's anti-poverty efforts. The report's grand, familiar
- Dems now the guardians of status quo A lot of people keep waiting for the Democratic Party to jump into the deep end. Pew Research Center pollster Andrew Kohut produced the latest installment in this vein with a Washington Post essay, "Are the Democrats Getting Too Liberal?" I get it. R
- What the world needs now 'Have you told the women?" Father Michael's question disarmed Martha Reichert -- and changed her life. Reichert was in the tough first days of her continuing work with women who are abuse victims, prostitutes and addicts at Samaritan House, a homeles
- The budget comes up short It was just bad luck that President Obama unveiled his fiscal 2015 budget in the midst of the most dangerous geopolitical tensions Europe has faced since the end of the Cold War. The Obama administration began working on the document long before the
- Economy focus may help GOP Most Americans think the economy is still bad and that President Obama is doing a poor job handling it. With unemployment at 6.6 percent, and only that low because millions of frustrated, jobless workers have left the labor force entirely, issues tha
- Making retirement affordable again For an entirely predictable event, retirement is going to come as a shock to tens of millions of Americans -- a financial shock, that is. Many people in their 50s and 60s are about to find that the money they've set aside for retirement is too meager
- More Opinion Headlines