SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln's (CVN 72) Sailors of the Year (SOY) got a chance to get closer to America's sixteenth president and their ship's namesake, Feb. 9.
Air Traffic Controller 1st Class (AW/SW/FMF) Kyle Hempel, Storekeeper 2nd Class (SW/AW) Dametries Holmes, and Aviation Support Equipment Technician Airman Christopher Dionisio visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, along with other sites in Springfield, Ill.
The trio were greeted by Erik Nelson, a Lincoln Library executive, on arrival at the new museum, which opened in April 2005.
Nelson said the new facility, located in the Illinois state capital is unlike any other that honors the life and work of an American president.
"Some of our critics have said we are presenting entertainment disguised as history, but when you ask any of our thousands of visitors that come to see us every month, it's obvious to them we are giving them history disguised as entertainment," Nelson said.
The SOYs, escorted by Chief Torpedoman's Mate (SW) Regina Halley, a Lincoln chief with ties to the region, were treated to two interactive presentations during their afternoon.
The first was in the library's $6 million Union Theater. Lincoln Sailors got a chance to experience life in the Civil War era and learned about Lincoln's legacy; the preservation of the union between the Northern and Southern states.
The second attraction was a presentation coined "The Ghosts of the Library," which gave Lincoln Sailors a more personal perspective on "Honest Abe" and the continuing work of the Lincoln Presidential Library.
Following the shows, Abe Sailors toured interactive exhibits throughout the complex, learning about everything from Lincoln's adverse youth, his days as a lawyer in Springfield, the chaos as the Civil War raged and Lincoln called the White House home, to his tragic death in Washington's Ford Theater at the hands of John Wilkes Booth.
Hempel, who now lives in Oak Harbor, Wash., when he's not underway aboard the "World's Greatest Warship," said he was impressed by the facility.
"The combination of historical facts and state-of-the-art special effects created an environment where both young and old could get in touch with who Abraham Lincoln really was," Hempel said.
"Visiting the museum definitely gave me a new found respect for my ship's namesake," Hempel said. "I had read various books on him and still found a wealth of untouched knowledge by being a part of this trip."
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