It was 150 years ago that President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves.
Old Abe himself was on hand Tuesday in Murfreesboro explaining why.
"I could not free the slaves without saving the Union. I had to have both," said an actor portraying Lincoln.
It was all part of the commemoration celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Stones River.
Honest Abe shared his thoughts on how the Emancipation Proclamation was created and how it changed our nation and influenced the Civil War.
"It's important to keep the history alive because we all have to understand what role it played in our lives today. Although we weren't there 150 years ago, those tragic events really framed our ability to work, live and to be together as human beings as we are here in 2013," said Gayle Hazelwood, Stones River superintendent.
The park also welcomed students from Nashville's McGavock High School, who presented videos as part of the National Park Foundation's Express of Freedom contest.
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