The tireless, majestic vision of Lincoln

Elizabeth D. Samet is a professor of English at the U.S. Military Academy and the author of “Soldier’s Heart: Reading Literature Through Peace and War at West Point.”

This year’s celebration of the Fourth of July is amplified by the sesquicentennial of the Union victory at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. The holiday will no doubt serve the requisite dose of patriotic feeling, sentimentality and togetherness to convince us that we have exercised some civic virtue. But the vacation time spent with family and friends will mostly serve to remind us that we are exhausted. Exhaustion is the national refrain. When everyone from a basketball coach to a Cabinet member retires from view, we are told how exhausted each is and discover a public echo of our own private feeling.

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