Now he belongs to the ages

The 14th of April, 1865, was a tragic day in the history of the United States. For on the evening of that day, President Abraham Lincoln went to Ford's Theatre in Washington to see a play which was popular at the time — and never returned. The day had started for the President with the usual round of office duties. The city of Washington was still in a happy mood. The weather was fine, the sky was cloudless, a fresh spring wind was blowing about flags hoisted from many private and government buildings. The war had only ended a few days before, and the whole country continued to celebrate. The theatre party for that evening had been planned by Mrs Lincoln. The President usually enjoyed going to the theatre and went very often — but this evening he had no wish to go. He had felt very tired all day and looked upset. He finally decided to go, however, because it had been announced in the newspapers that the President would be present at Ford's Theatre. The President and his party arrived at the theatre when the play had already begun. When he appeared in the box, the audience greeted him with a storm of applause and the performance was interrupted for a moment. Then the play went on, and the President enjoyed it. He didn't know that his life was in danger… At about ten o'clock an actor named John Booth came into the theatre and walked directly towards Lincoln's box. He noiselessly opened the door, and approaching the President so that his gun was only a short distance from his head, calmly took aim and fired. The President fell forward in his chair. Booth immediately jumped from the box to the stage. He landed heavily and shouted something. He was about to rise to his feet when he gave a cry of pain and had to lie still for a moment. Then he got up with difficulty and slowly walked to the back of the stage. His leg was broken, but he was able to get outside where a horse was waiting for him. The audience saw him do all this, but they thought that it was all part of the play, when suddenly they heard a woman's voice cry out: "The President has been killed." It was Mrs Lincoln. Immediately a young doctor from the audience hurried to the President's box. After he had examined Lincoln, he said that the President had only a few hours to live. Lincoln was lifted from his chair and carried to a house opposite the theatre, where he remained until his death the next morning. When he died, one of the people in the room at the time said: "Now he belongs to the ages." These words have since become famous.