November 23, 2004

A Tuesday History Lesson

The Lincoln Memorial at night

This 19 foot tall, 175 ton marble sculpture was crafted by Daniel Chester French in 1915. The memorial in which it sits is surrounded by 36 columns representing each of the states of the Union at the time of Lincolnís death. The population of the United States when Lincoln was shot was estimated at 32 million. When the monument was completed in 1922, the Union had expanded to 48 states. The names of each of these states were carved into the exterior walls of the monument.

Lincolnís hands form an A and an L in American Sign Language. This is reported to be merely a coincidence despite the fact that Lincoln, in 1864, signed the charter for Gallaudet University, the nationís first permanent public school for the deaf.

Lincolnís son was very nearly killed after a fall near a passing train. He was yanked to safety by John Wilkes Boothís brother. John didnít seem as nimble as his brother, however. After shooting Lincoln, Booth jumped onto the stage and promptly tripped Ė over an American flag.

Tom Hanks is Lincolnís third cousin four times removed.

Lincoln was the first president to grow a beard. He did so at the suggestion of an 11 year old girl who wrote Lincoln a letter and mailed it to the White House. Lincoln is also the first and only president from Kentucky and one of only two presidents without church affiliations. The other was Andrew Johnson, Lincolnís vice president. When Johnson, a democrat, succeeded Lincoln, a republican, no vice president was ever named.

Posted by Chris at November 23, 2004 08:09 AM

I didn't know half of those things!
See, I've been telling my mom that you're not a hoodlum. I was right. Yer a smart friend to hang out with!
I can actually learn things from reading your blog.

Posted by: Jade at November 23, 2004 08:59 AM

Thanks! You'd make a great teacher! The bit about the hands forming an A a L in sign language is fascinating and I wonder if it really is coincidence.

Posted by: groovebunny at November 23, 2004 09:46 AM

oh puh-leeeeze. Kevin Bacon is Lincoln's cousin three tiems removed . . . . who isn't?

Posted by: bluepoppy at November 23, 2004 09:51 AM

i'm not related to him! but i do live 2 towns away from where his family originally put down roots...
which explains why there's a statue of him in Hingham, MA.

interesting stuff mr. cactus, thanks.

Posted by: monique at November 23, 2004 10:22 AM

I always enjoy your pictures... here's a request, just for fun:

Take a picture of the inside of your fridge so we can all see what the Cactus/Fish household is currently snacking on. :)

Posted by: PinkStiletto at November 23, 2004 10:23 AM

Interesting facts. Thanks, C!

Posted by: Bond Girl at November 23, 2004 11:18 AM

Please! No learning before coffee!! (I promise I will appreciate this in about 30 minutes.)

Posted by: bmh at November 23, 2004 11:40 AM

You forgot to mention the little known fact that your wife looks especially hot when standing in front of Abraham Lincoln.

Posted by: Mrs. Cactus at November 23, 2004 11:52 AM

hmm. i know some 11 year old girls. i wonder if i can get them to write to the white house and make requests? we may just have been going about things in all the wrong ways ... till now. sweet! :D

Posted by: patricia at November 23, 2004 12:02 PM

oh and the fact that Mrs. Cactus looks hot in front of the memorial is not little known. Which would explain why Chris didn't mention it I guess. Why talk about something that everyone in the world already knows??

(ok. i tried to help you out but i'm not sure it's gonna do the trick)

Posted by: patricia at November 23, 2004 12:04 PM

Oooh, learning. Before 9am. Good times. When I was in college in DC, my friends and I spent many an evening checking out the monuments by night. They are infinitely cooler at night.

Posted by: Heather at November 23, 2004 12:20 PM

That's gonna be on my list of things to see. It's a very long list.

Posted by: Heather at November 23, 2004 07:15 PM

6 Degress of Abraham Lincoln: Connect Rude Cactus to Abraham Lincoln in 6 actors or less.

Chris has a crush on Kiera Knightley
Who was in Love Actually with Hugh Grant
Who was in Knotting Hill with Julia Roberts
Who was in Flatliners with Kevin Bacon
Who was in Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks
Who was the third cousin four times removed of...
Abraham Lincoln.

Posted by: RockStar Mommy at November 24, 2004 11:26 AM