The Jan. 31 story about a billboard in Duluth featuring President Abraham Lincoln ("Lincoln billboard evokes memories of Dakota 38 hanging") stirred me to re-read Joe Wheeler's book, "Abraham Lincoln: A Man of Faith and Courage."

Lincoln was a man who truly wanted to please God and to be used as his instrument.

Leo Tolstoy said of Lincoln: "His genius is still too strong and too powerful for the common understanding, just as the sun is too hot when its light beams directly on us."

U.S. Secretary of State John Hay said of Lincoln: "In spite of some weaknesses, Republicanism is the sole hope of a sick world, so Lincoln with all his foibles is the greatest character since Christ."

Appendix C in Wheeler's book is entitled, "A Lesson in Forgiveness." It was written by T. Morris Longstreth.

Gen. Sanlon demanded that 24 deserters be shot. Lincoln, in compassion, spared those men. He also spared the life of a fatigued soldier who fell asleep on guard duty.

My favorite Lincoln quote hangs above my desk: "If there is anything that links the human with the Divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it."

Lincoln freed 4 million slaves. He also commuted the sentences of hanging until dead of 265 Dakota against an enraged public and the demands of Gov. Alexander Ramsey of Minnesota.

Shame on anyone trying to discredit Lincoln, a great man. No one has to apologize for honoring Lincoln.

I will conclude with this: Shame produces correction in those who are not mired in self interest and self pity.

James Antonovich