Columns

Blaine's Bulletin: Recognizing Presidents' Day

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Washington, February 17, 2017 | comments
America’s rich history not only includes events such as the Civil War or when Lewis and Clark set out from St. Louis on the great expedition to explore the West – but it also includes the individuals who were our leaders during these times.
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America’s rich history not only includes events such as the Civil War or when Lewis and Clark set out from St. Louis on the great expedition to explore the West – but it also includes the individuals who were our leaders during these times.

To many students throughout our country, Presidents’ Day is another day off of school. However, this federal holiday, established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, celebrates not only the birth of our first president, but stands as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

In the past, I have been asked by students in the 3rd District about who my favorite presidents are. That answer is easy: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Two men who selflessly navigated America through their terms and did what was right for our country and its people.

Before becoming our nation’s first president, George Washington demonstrated that he was a great leader during his time as the Commander of the Continental Army, against incredible odds that favored the British Army. General Washington never gave up, and eventually helped the United States win our independence from Great Britain. After his time as Commander of the Continental Army, in 1789 he became the first President of the United States of America under our Constitution. His leadership provided a firm foundation for our country, and he set many standards and precedents that future presidents have strived to maintain.

Then, in 1861, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as our nation’s 16th president. President Lincoln led our country through its hardest years, the Civil War. However, in doing so, President Lincoln abolished slavery and modernized the economy. President Lincoln also gave one of our country’s most memorable presidential speeches– the Gettsyburg Address. In 272 words, and three minutes in length, President Lincoln asserted that all men are created equal and he defined the war as an effort dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality for all.

Today, Presidents’ Day isn’t just a federal holiday. Across the country, many patriotic and historical groups use February 22 as a day for celebrations and other events. Our deep American history is encouraging and so important for students to know what our country has been through. I encourage parents to tell their children what president they most admire and share their own stories about why. I hope all students continue to study and learn American history and also stay in touch with what is happening each and everyday – it is important to stay informed. 

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