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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Today is the 150th Anniversary of President Lincoln’s assassination. This solemn occasion caused me to reflect on an event that happened a few years ago – one that changed my life and the life of Earl, a cab driver from Washington D.C.

A cab driver and President Lincoln
Three years ago while in Washington D.C. for meetings, I hopped into a cab and asked the cab driver if he knew where the Soldiers Home was located.  He turned around and said, “Of course I know where the Soldiers Home is, I have been through every nook and cranny of this town.  You see, my great grandmother was a slave here.”Earl the cab driver in DC, looking at the Emancipation Proclamation in the Soldiers Home

Lincoln spent much time at the Soldiers Home and subsequently wrote the Emancipation Proclamation there.  When Earl’s cab pulled up to the home, I asked Earl if he had ever been inside.  He said, “Well…. actually no.”  He initially refused my invite to join me, but I told him I was paying his way and said, “Somewhere in this house, Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation.”

Earl parked the cab and decided to join me.  The staff kindly showed us an original Emancipation Proclamation and when we saw it, a reverent silence stopped what had been continuous chatter.  Earl starred at it for almost two minutes and no words were exchanged.  After almost two minutes I said how amazing that document freed your great grandmother. He replied, “unbelievable”.  A powerful moment I will not soon forget.

When he dropped me off he said, “Today was a tremendous blessing.”  Earl said he was not going to work the rest of the day but instead he was going to go home and share this experience with his wife.  A 70-year-old cab driver taught me the greatest history lesson I will ever experience.  Pictured above is Earl looking at a copy of the proclamation at a place in the house where Lincoln is believed to have penned those famous words.

Thank you for allowing me a moment to reflect on a life-changing moment.  It’s important to remember and honor the words and work of our heroes from the past.


Kevin Parker

State Representative Kevin Parker, 6th Legislative District
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000