This past spring Leeza Kopaeva was awarded a scholarship by the Lincoln Club after submitting her 500-word essay responding to a quote by President Lincoln. You can read the quote and her essay below; the above photo shows Leeza after being presented with the award. From left to right: Lowell Libby, US Director; Leeza Kopaeva ’18; Robert McCormack, son of the scholarship donor & member of The Lincoln Club; Barbara Harvey, President of The Lincoln Club.
“Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling.”
In the times we are currently living in, this quote speaks to me in a way I am not sure it ever would have before. Our nation, over the past year, has been divided. We have yelled at one another, thrown up our hands in defeat, and have committed acts of violence, both physical and verbal, towards one another based upon one another’s views alone. Free speech is no longer free, for if one’s words do not match the thoughts of another one faces hatred, shame, and fear. We all want greatness, but as Lincoln so eloquently said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. In my life, I have never seen such hatred spread so widely from one choice: to vote one way, or to vote another. How have we not understood that we, as American citizens, no matter what party we stand with, are all connected? How have we forgotten that together, beyond the colors of our skin, beyond our gender identities, beyond the people we vote for and beyond the choices that we make, that we are all Americans? We have the power to communicate with one another. We have the power to recognize our bonds and treat one another not as this thing or that, but rather as human beings, sharing space in a nation that gives us all the opportunity to voice our thoughts and our opinions. We have the power to create a common understanding between one another, no matter who we are. It is known that history repeats itself, but only because we do not pay attention to the lessons that we have gained from our previous mistakes. Lincoln’s words ring true over and over again, and it is time, for not just a few, but for all of us, the people of the United States, to listen, for we are “brothers” and we shall live in our “bonds of fraternal feeling”.