By Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Apprentice Lucero English, USS Abraham Lincoln
This weekend, I was provided a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent the Navy and my ship in Springfield, Ill., the “Land of Lincoln” to commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Attending was an honor to me professionally and personally — I couldn’t be more grateful.
The events throughout the weekend allowed me to broaden my perspective and appreciation for the importance of American history and how it applies to our lives daily. I was given a front-row seat to history to experience the world-wide event attended by thousands.
As soon as our crew landed in the airport on May 1, we were greeted by local high school students who welcomed us to the “Land of Lincoln.” During my time at the three-day weekend event, I was escorted around some amazing museums, historic districts and experienced the most prestigious symphony I have ever heard.
Through these events, I was able to reflect upon Lincoln’s legacy and all that he offered to the community through his humble leadership. For example, I witnessed this firsthand on May 3, during our crew’s four-mile walk from the Old State Capitol to Lincoln’s tomb. People from around the world traveled to Springfield. Those paying their respects included World War II, Korean, Vietnam and present-day warriors who raised their flags in honor. I got to personally shake their hands and thank the citizens for hosting me and my fellow Sailors.
During my many visits to the museums I was consistently reminded of who President Abraham Lincoln was and the unwavering stand he took to prevent a divided nation. Through his presidency, Lincoln gave a voice to those who had no voices.
I also had the honor of visiting the Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois. I was inspired by the faces who lit up as we all walked into the Club to share a little bit about our carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln, and the U.S. Navy. They were truly inspired, which inspired me right back.
Many of the children asked questions about our daily lives and why we serve. One child asked a poignant question about how we deal with failure on our ship. My commanding officer, Capt. Ron Ravelo, responded failure is never an option and maintaining a positive mindset will aid in the success of her future endeavors. His advice was so encouraging to me personally and I could see it affected each and every child in the room similarly. For that young child who asked the question, I believe my captain’s advice and her interaction with the Navy will serve as a motivation for her to reach for the stars and never look back.
The citizens of Springfield had one mission during this remarkable event, which was to commemorate the life, legacy and burial of our greatest president. Similarly on board USS Abraham Lincoln, we, too have one mission; to defend our nation’s freedoms. President Lincoln knew the power of freedom and democracy then as we know it today.
It truly makes me proud to be a part of a warship and a Navy that does the same. We are a huge melting pot of Sailors who come to our ship from many diverse backgrounds, cultures, religions, but in the end, we all come together to perform our duty.
As I return to USS Abraham Lincoln and don my ship’s ball cap, I will do so knowing more about our 16th president and his unswerving devotion to keep our nation united: One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Abraham Lincoln forever changed the world with his open policy for all that allows each and every American citizen to have a seat at our nation’s table. Sailors assigned to USS Abraham Lincoln carry forth that devotion in order to provide those citizens the right to sleep peacefully at night under our nation’s blanket of freedom.
Editor’s Note: Lucero English is an enlisted aviation warfare specialist-qualified Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Airman Apprentice aboard USS Abraham Lincoln. She had the distinct honor of being selected as the ship’s Bluejacket of the Year. The nomination and competition process for the Bluejacket of the Year is rigorous. Sailors are evaluated on their educational accomplishments, physical fitness standards, participation in civic and community activities along with military bearing and Navy core values. This is a tremendous accomplishment and NHHC applauds Airman Apprentice English.
If someone in your family or someone you know has received this award, be sure to congratulate them on their hard work!