Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is It Over Yet?

This seems to have been the longest winter I can remember. Illinois was hit with a lot of snow and it just kept coming - foot after foot. As Wendy and I sat holed up in the house most of the past few months we wished that we had decided to take some vacation time and go somewhere warm. No where in particular - the place just had to have sunshine and temperatures above 60 degrees. Maybe 70.

Next year is our 35th. anniversary and we are thinking of reliving a trip we took together back in 1976. We were married in 1977, but the year before we backpacked around Europe for a month and visited many of the places that I had longed to visit since I was a child.
Our favorite place was Greece and we have just about decided to do Greece again though this time I think we'll stay in hotels instead of youth hostels and cruise the islands for a week instead of the one-day 3 island hop out of Piraeus harbor.
As we dreamed of being in the Greek sunshine, we recalled our 30th. anniversary trip - a Hawaiian cruise.
Now, what does any of this have to do with Lincoln statues? Well, many of you may be surprised to learn that there is a fine statue of Lincoln on the island of Oahu not too far from Pearl Harbor. The statueis located in front of the Ewa Plantation School in Ewa Beach. The statue is titled Lincoln the Frontiersman. The sculptor is the late Avard Tenneyson Fairbanks. Fairbanks is one of the more prolific sculptors of Lincoln during the middle of the 20th Century. His most famous work is probably the statue of Lincoln that stands in front of the Visitor's Center at Lincoln's New Salem State Park near Petersburg, IL. The New Salem Lincoln is featured on the U.S. Illinois quarter that was released in 2003. There is a similarity between the two works as you can see from the two pictures. In both works, Lincoln is seen a muscular young man carrying an axe. In the Illinois piece, Lincoln carries books in his right arm and the axe in his left.
Fairbank's strapping young Lincoln was erected at the bequest of the former teacher and principal of the Ewa School, Katherine Burke. Fairbanks was teaching summer school at the University of Hawaii in 1939 and the statue committee approached him about furnishing the Lincoln for the school.
Lincoln has a certain connection and significance to Hawaii. During his presidency Lincoln developed a personal relationship with the Hawaiian king King Kamehameha IV. Several letters written to the King signed by "Your Good Friend, A. Lincoln" are in the historical record.
Fairbanks' 9 foot tall "Frontiersman" was finished in his Ann Arbor, Michigan studio in 1941 but due to the war in the Pacific it was not dedicated until Lincoln's 135th. birthday on February 12, 1944. Every year on Lincoln's birthday the students of the Ewa Plantation School decorate Mr. Lincoln with dozens of multi-colored leis.

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