Each time I visit, each time I work there I feel like I've learned something new. Lincoln is perhaps the one president who historians have written the most about. There seems to be a new book every month, some years and yet each time a new layer of Lincoln is exposed and his memorial is the same. For example most visitors will never see that the frieze were the names of the 36 states at the time of his union and his presidency had intertwining northern law and long leaf pine. And those are symbols of unity. The whole memorial was designed to convey that impression. It's a small detail perhaps but something you might overlook on your first visit. But as you enter the memorial there is more of that. Lincoln is portrayed as a common man. He is not standing like a great military leader, the commander in chief during the greatest civil war. No, he's seated in common clothing. The fall coat, the brogans, typical of what he wore as a frontier attorney and seated as a statesman, contemplating what the world was really about and that's captured it in his address that Henry Bacon, the architect put on the walls too. The murals done by Jules Guerin are often overlooked because their colors are muted. They're not bright or strident, neon colors in the oil paint on the canvas. Instead Henry Bacon had directed Jules Guerin to subtly interpret Lincoln's virtues as the president of the United States, above his most significant addresses, the Gettysburg, and the second inaugural. Guerin did it in several ways. He was a symbolist painter that he used neo classical forms. He used the angel of truth on each side above each of the addresses in a symmetrical form to suggest different things. On the south side the angel of truth is breaking the bonds of slaves on the left and right. And those groups of slaves might represent liberty and freedom. Over in the corner you have the angel of law and behind her stand the guardians of law, bearing the torches of intelligence, the seated civils in the foreground of that image. Our attorneys, like Lincoln, interpreters of the constitution. On the opposite side of the angle of truth, in the emancipation mural you have the angle of immortality and she's surrounded by figures that represent faith, hope and charity. Immortality is referenced in other subtle ways. On the side of immortality's chair is a large vessel and a foil in ancient times that might have held olive oil or wine. Cardiologists now suggest at the ancients did that he who always wondered in oil perhaps in greater moderation than classic times might live a longer life. But immortality is there in another way. On either side of the angle of truth in the central grouping you find tree trunks. Most visitors will miss them because there are no branches, no leaves. No obvious formation of a tree there. But Eucalyptus was chosen by Jules Guerin because regardless of what you do that tree, if you chop it down, if you burn it, if you hit it with a vehicle it will still sprawl again from its roots. And Lincoln's words below are immortal. In the Gettysburg Address Lincoln was reminding us of where we had started as a nation and what the civil war really met in the larger sense. What we as a nation must continue to aspire to achieve for all our citizens in any time.