Illustration: Fame, Fleeting Nature Of

Many have labeled Millard Fillmore the most obscure president in American history. Fillmore, our 13th president, succeeded to the presidency after the sudden death of Zachary Taylor. He was not nominated for a second term. There is a small cabin marking his birth in a state park, but the cabin is a reproduction and not on the site of his birth. There is a home he inhabited for four years, but it is not on the site of his property.

When people meet for formal events at his grave, it often is to mock his obscurity. His grave is located in his family section of the Albany cemetery. The area is marked by a small obelisk, and there is some mention of him and his family members on the outer perimeter; but what is on the president's grave itself? No listing of his accomplishments, no date of birth or death. His grave does not even bear his name. His grave simply carries the initials of M.F.

Here was a man who founded a major university; served as a state legislator and U.S. congressman, vice president and president. How quickly we forget!