A year from now, Springfield will mark the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s funeral. Some 75,000 came through for the 1865 events, which followed a national “funeral train” journey from Washington to Springfield via many cities. But it was all for a president who was not that popular while he was in office.
“One of the things we always have to remember,” says Lincoln Funeral Coalition chairwoman Katie Spindell, “is that Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated, and this right after the conclusion of the Civil War. Nerves were raw to begin with; there was a lot of upheaval in the country, and then he was assassinated. Everyone was looking forward to peacetime.”
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Spindell says the mood and response to the Kennedy assassination in 1963 and the terrorist attacks of 2001 show America is still capable of unity in times of national tragedy.