A bronze, nine-foot statue of
Abraham Lincoln, bracing himself against the wind, will
adorn the southeast corner of Union Square Park across
Sixth Street from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential
Titled "A Greater Task" and sculpted by Decatur
artist John McClarey, the larger-than-life Lincoln
figure actually will reach about 131/2 feet high after
adding in the pedestal.
McClarey, an award-winning artist and former history
teacher, is best known for his Lincoln sculptures, one
of which can be found as far away as Moscow. He also has
sculpted such figures as Black Hawk, Robert E. Lee and
He spent about a year complet- ing his Union Square
Park project, he said from his home.
"He stands at this point in time, in February 1861,
ready to leave Springfield to assume the presidency,"
McClarey said. "He's facing east, toward Washington,
D.C. I'm showing him posed as though it were a storm
raging around him. His hair ruffled and his right hand
firmly gripping the lapel of his coat. His left hand is
open, to show his willingness to appeal to the American
people to do what is right."
McClarey, 70, said his sculpture reflects Lincoln's
two most dominant leadership traits - his openness and
"(The statue) is symbolic of the awesome power he was
prepared to assume as president and commander in chief.
It's called 'A Greater Task' because Lincoln considered
the task he was facing - to save the nation - greater
than Washington's." McClarey said.
The statue was commissioned by the Capital
Development Board, the state's construction agency,
which reserves a small percentage of its building funds
for on-site artwork.
"A Greater Task" will be unveiled sometime next
summer, when the $2.65 million park is expected to open.
Pete Sherman can be contacted at 788-1539 or