Archive for November 27th, 2010

There are strains of our cultural roots that focus on touch – we value the ability to “reach out and touch” something over just viewing it. Take Roman Catholic relics. For those not familar with the hierarchy of relics, there are three “classes.” First class relics are items from Christ’s life or the remains of a saint (pieces of the True Cross, bone fragments from a saint). Second class relics are items that a saint wore or used. Third class relics are things that have been touched to a first or second class relic: sanctity imbued by the act of touch.


That is what I thought of when I read the little message on a post at the base of this monument.


What are the three things that this short paragraph wants to convey to you – 1. Ulsenheimer was a Civil War soldier, 2. He shook hands with President Abraham Lincoln, and 3. He is ancestor of a current local resident. I was just immediately struck by the emphasis on the handshake – of all the things in Ulsenheimer’s life to preserve, the act of having briefly shook hands was second only to his veteran status and his descendant.


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