Since I have the great luxury this year of having President’s Day off (I can’t remember the last time I had it off, maybe not since school?) I thought I’d post a small tribute to Honest Abe, although that’s a little disingenuous. Mostly I’m obsessed with the piece of music that plays over the images, and you guys know how I get when I latch onto something. I was hearing it in my sleep all night. There are a lot of YouTube videos featuring photos from the Civil War that use this piece, although the piece was written in 1982. It’s called Ashokan Farewell and was written by Jay Ungar as a closing piece for the Annual Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp in 1982. Ken Burns also used it as the theme for his series The Civil War. It made it’s way onto the compilation album, “Songs of the Civil War” despite being written well over one hundred years after the end of that war. Still, it is much in the spirit of the times. It’s been compared to Niel Gow’s Lament for the death of his second wife, and you can hear the influence in it. I’ll have to do a post on Niel at some point for all you Scotsmen.
So here it is as the background for a tribute to Abraham Lincoln. You can thank me for the earworm later.
The credit at the end is a little confusing, makes it sound like the music was inspired by Burns’ 1990 documentary, impossible unless Mr. Ungar has a TARDIS we don’t know about…
I have an ulterior motive for the presidential tribute (his birthday is actually the 12th, same day as Charles Darwin. Both were born February 12, 1809. What an alignment of the stars there must have been). Looking at these pictures gave me an idea for a story, and not even Civil War-oriented. But I love all these images of the Pres. Was ever a man more human? I don’t mean to shortchange George Washington in all this, I truly believe he should still have his own day, rather than rolling the two into one. I’ll get around to a post on him one of these days.
I have to admit I get a little choked up looking at these images of our 16th President, and the men who fought in that terrible war. It must have felt like the world was ending. Personally, I think I have it bad when my car breaks down and I get a cold. If there’s such a thing as reincarnation and I lived during that time, I must have died young. I don’t think I’m strong enough to survive what those people went through. I’ve visited Gettysburg on a class trip in high school and I wished I could have spent more time there, with fewer people around, although as emotional as I can be I would likely have been reduced to a blubbering mass. I took a “mini-course” on the Civil War in high school, and we even made our own reenactment film with a group of Civil War reenactors. I was filmed as a dead soldier lying on the ground with faux blood dripping out of my mouth. It was pronounced awesome. I’m good at playing dead.
Hope you enjoy the tune.