BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- Sailors of the Year (SOY) aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) visited the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Ill., Feb. 10.
Following a brief stay in the greater Chicago area, which included a visit to Recruit Training Command at Naval Station Great Lakes, Lincoln's Junior SOY Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW/AW) Sylvia Fawson, Bluejacket Of the Year Storekeeper Seaman Jason Wong, and trip facilitator Chief Torpedoman's Mate (SW/AW) Regina Hawley made their way two hundred miles south of the Windy City to visit the site of the 16th president's fledgling law practice and aspiring political career.
"In truth, I thought that [the Lincoln museum] was just going to be another boring museum," Fawson said. "I thought that the ship simply sent us to it because the name of our ship bears Lincoln's name, but it ended being my favorite part of the trip."
Fawson said that the exhibits and the technology behind them were amazing.
The museum, housed many unique and state-of-the-art exhibitions that focused on aspects of Lincoln's life and legacy. The Sailors found the three-dimensional holographic exhibit presenting the ongoing work of preserving the written words of Lincoln especially interesting.
"I felt that it [the holographic exhibit] gave me a connection to Lincoln himself," Hawley said. "The museum invested a lot to connect us to the man and give us a sense of his life and time."
According to Wong, the information and presentation of Lincoln's years spent in the White House was especially powerful.
"I had no idea that Lincoln was so scrutinized and criticized for what he was trying to do," Wong said. "He had failed at most everything he had done his whole life, but he overcame the challenges that he faced. It was really inspiring to see the adversity that he endured as president and yet overcame."
As history records, just as the four years of Civil War came to a close, and prior to Lincoln experiencing the result of his unswerving vision, he was murdered.
"Lincoln knew his purpose, and nothing could stop him," Hawley said. "People hated him, but he had to do it. He had to accomplish his vision."
"He knew that his work would affect America and the world for many generations and many people to come, and he refused to let any obstacle stop him," Hawley said.
Many Sailors said in spite of his premature death, history has conspicuously revealed the value of Lincoln's vision and efforts to both abolish slavery and preserve the union of the United States of America.
"It was eye-opening to see the reality of President Lincoln's humble beginnings," Fawson said. "He went from poverty to become one of our country's greatest presidents who forged, in great part, America's future."
For related news, visit the USS Abraham Lincoln's Navy NewsStand page at www.navy.mil/local/cvn72.