While Presidents’ Day is a national holiday to celebrate the legacies of all of America’s presidents, special attention is given to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and their birthdays. Both were exceptional leaders in their time, having presided over the country during tumultuous times.
George Washington, the consummate statesman, was chosen unanimously by his peers as the first president of the United States of America. Having been the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and presiding over the writing of the Constitution in 1787, Washington was the clear choice to lead the newly created country. More than anyone else, Washington understood, through his bravery in fighting for independence, what America would stand for going forward: liberty and freedom. He came to personify these qualities in America and served as a role model for future leaders of the United States.
Another such leader was Abraham Lincoln. Without his leadership and fortitude throughout the Civil War, our nation may have never survived after the conflict. Lincoln was committed to seeing America’s ideals flourish and, in the end, America emerged stronger as the Union was preserved. Through Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation as well as his efforts pushing for the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, slavery was abolished, advancing equality and freedom for African Americans. Like Washington, to this day, Lincoln is viewed as a symbol of liberty and freedom.
So on this day, please take time to honor the lives and accomplishments of these two great presidents. Without their leadership and commitment to America, we would not be able to enjoy the liberties that make this the greatest country in the world.
Terence D. Grado
Director of National and State Policy