Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Message in a Watch

From yesterday's New York Times:
Confirming a rumor that has circulated for generations, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History opened a gold pocket watch that belonged to Abraham Lincoln on Tuesday and discovered a message secretly engraved there by a watchmaker who repaired it in 1861.

“Jonathan Dillon April 13- 1861 Fort Sumpter was attacked by the rebels on the above date. J Dillon,” the brass underside of the watch movement reads.

The inscription continues: “April 13- 1861 Washington thank God we have a government Jonth Dillon.”
The hopeful inscription is like a message in a bottle, or graffiti on a wall, or a tweet -- the writer aimed at nobody in particular, but needed to say what he felt at that very moment.

Dillon was the only Union sympathizer working in the shop. As the only sane adult in my family, I can understand Dillon's difficult situation. I keep my blog hidden from relatives just like the watchmaker's furtive message. Thank DARPA we have an Internet.

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