Honoring Washington and Lincoln on Their Birthdays

by John M. Hartvigsen

With only 28 days, February is the shortest month of the year, and even so it makes room for three days celebrating the men who have led our nation while serving as the President of the United States.  Two men, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were born in February, and although their birthdays are no longer official holidays that they were before being replaced by Presidents’ Day—it is still appropriate to remember them on their birthdays and their unique contributions to our nation’s history.

Without George Washington, the United States might not exist at all, and if it did its Federal Government would be very different but for his contributions.  Being the first President under the Constitution, Washington created governmental traditions we now take for granted, and he set a standard against which later presidents would be judged.  Successful generals in other wars of world history used their gained military power to become tyrants, kings or dictators.  Despite his herculean stature at the end of the Revolution, Washington firmly led the new nation to a Constitutional form of democracy.

As Washington served to create the nation, Abraham Lincoln worked to preserve it.  Rather that tearing the country apart, the Civil War forged the United States into a unified nation where the phrase “the United States are…” was replaced by “the United States is….”  Lincoln’s assignment was not an easy one, and the four years of Civil War showed dramatically in his care worn face created by the burdens he carried in preserving the Union.

The greatness of the United States of America in the world stand firmly on the foundation created and strengthened by these two presidents.

It is proper to honor all Presidents of the United States on Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 18th.  Nevertheless, it is also appropriate to remember Abraham Lincoln on the 12th of February, and George Washington on the 22nd of the month.

Fly the U.S. flag on Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays.  Their lives and deeds are reflected in the Stars & Stripes.

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