GEORGE W. BUSH quotes Lincoln letter to Mass. Civil War widow during Ground Zero speech – The Boston Globe
Bush quotes Lincoln letter to Mass. Civil War widow during Ground Zero speech
09/11/2011 11:27 AM
By Glen Johnson, Globe Staff
Former President George W. Bush, speaking today at Ground Zero in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, quoted the words of another president who sought to console a Massachusetts mother after she suffered another unspeakable tragedy.
Bush, who was president on Sept. 11, 2oo1, said Abraham Lincoln “understood the cost of sacrifice, and reached out to console those in sorrow as best he could” in his November 1864 letter to Lydia Bixby.
A widow living in Boston, Bixby had lost five sons who fought for the Union in the Civil War, some in battle, some afterward.
Lincoln wrote the letter, considered alongside the Gettysburg Address as one of the finest example of the Illinois Republican’s writing, at the request of then-Governor John Andrew, namesake of Andrew Square in South Boston.
“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,” Lincoln wrote in the one passage quoted by Bush.