Monday, February 21, 2011
Presidents Day. It's a day some only remember as the Monday in February when banks are closed and federal workers and children have a day off. But the meaning of the day goes far beyond an excuse for a three-day weekend.
Before 1968, two presidential birthdays were celebrated as holidays -- George Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's. But with two notable presidents, both deserving in their own right of a national holiday, Congress acted in 1968 to create one federal holiday -- the day we now commonly refer to as Presidents Day.
While many declare the holiday as a day to honor all presidents -- and to some extent it is -- it's especially important to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Had it not been for Washington's leadership of the colonial troops on that cold and icy December night across the Delaware River to capture the Hessians in Trenton, N.J., the American Revolution may not have succeeded.
Had it not been for Lincoln's leadership during and after the Civil War, the Union may not have survived. Lincoln was truly a pioneer in ending the horrific practice of slavery. In fact, the 16th president is quoted as saying, "Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."
We all -- not only presidents -- have much to learn from Washington and Lincoln. They were men of great principle, courage and faith in God. All the while, they were humble in their accomplishments.
As we go about our day today, may we take time to remember the sacrifice and bravery of both Washington and Lincoln, and take a moment to pray for our leaders in government -- both now and in the future.