On Reenacting a Funeral

Lincoln Funeral Procession Reenactment

I’ve only lived in three places in the United States and it’s been a strange coincidence that two of them were fixated on historical figures. Upon moving to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I quickly discovered that images of storied Crimson Tide football coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant, were near inescapable. Go to the bank, the doctor’s office, even McDonalds, and there would be the Bear–usually squinting off to the horizon, seemingly contemplating his next national championship or victory over Auburn. I now view this as rehearsal for life in Springfield, Illinois, which boasts the most famous American in history as a former resident. Abraham Lincoln is everywhere in this town and, in part, the very engine that keeps it running (sorry state government, you’re a distant second). The message I received as a foreigner and a newcomer in both places was clear: either be part of this cult of personality or be an outsider. Read More