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Abraham Lincoln rides to Washington, 150 years later
"What we're trying to do is to elevate the dialogue around the issue of slavery as cause," he said. "And the fact that the struggle for civil rights continues even to today."
"Lincoln" arrived at Baltimore's Penn Station at 10:05 a.m., along with Park Service officials and a group of youngsters from Baltimore's Digital Harbor High School, where he had given a presentation.
"I hope they don't ask me for a picture ID," Klein joked as he waited for the train.
"It's a huge privilege and responsibility," he said of portraying Lincoln. "To not be silly about it, to really do it seriously but to have fun, too. To be accurate, and to be relevant. It's sometimes a hard combination."
Klein said he left Springfield on Feb. 11, just as Lincoln did, and began the journey east.
"It's an exhilarating experience," he said. "The reception has been extraordinary, way beyond what we expected. In some of the venues they turned away as many as they were able to take in."
"In a sort of a misguided sense, people long for the old days," he said. "Not realizing that nothing really changes. Human nature is pretty much the same. . . . They don't need Lincoln. All they need to do is look at the things Lincoln did and said and practice" them.
Train No. 185 - with special arrangements courtesy of Amtrak - left Baltimore at 10:45 a.m. Klein, Jarvis and other Park Service experts gathered in the last car and fielded questions from the students.
The train arrived at Union Station at 11:25 a.m. Also there were Karen Barton of Bergenfield, N.J., her son Brendan, 10, his friend A.J. DeBenedictis, 13, and Barton's husband, Michael.
They had been elsewhere on the train, heard Lincoln was aboard and were hoping for a glimpse.
Karen Barton gasped when he emerged from Car 82518. "There he is, boys," she said.
The boys maneuvered for a look and, after the excitement had died down, posed with the chief executive while Barton took photos.
Afterward, she thanked Klein, saying Brendan's teachers would be delighted.
Brendan said being photographed with Abraham Lincoln was "awesome."