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Quote #10

This boy—this nameless boy—had risen that September morning, unaware that he would never see another. He had dressed and eaten. He had run bravely into battle. And then he had been gone—every moment of his life reduced to a single misfortune. All of his experiences, past and future, emptied onto some strange field far from home. (12.64)

The war is a huge part of what we remember Abe for, but the Civil War doesn't take center stage here. We only get it in bits and pieces. And one of those bits (yech, excuse the pun) is this description of the aftermath of the war. Sure, it's worth fighting, but it's full of violence and death. Notice how Abe boils down this young kid's life? What matters is not that he lived many years, got up, got dressed, and ate breakfast. What matters is that he was blown away. Real uplifting stuff, Mr. President.

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