Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember our service men and women who have died in service to their country. We think it fitting to reprint one of the most well- known letters of condolences from President Lincoln to Mrs. Lydia Parker Bixby, a widow who in addition lost her five sons in the Civil War. Its sentiment is as powerful today as when it was first written:
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.
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,
We honor those brave souls who gave everything to their country and will always keep them in our memory.
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