Today is one of those great late Winter days. The sky is a clear crystalline Blue. The sun is out shining, providing much needed warmth. The temperature is hovering right above 50 degrees. As I was out on my daily walk, patrolling the neigbhorhood, I found a heads up penny. I, of course, picked it up for good luck. I rubbed my fingers over the penny, feeling the rough nicks and edges that have been created from its time on the asphalt road before I rescued it. As I examined this penny, minted in 1976 – 200 years after the Declaration of Independence, I thought about the lessons of this Nations Forefathers and I wonder if they would be proud of what we, the nation, have done with the legacy they left?
Former President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1971 moved Presidents’ Day to the third Monday in February to honor all past presidents of the United States. I remember growing up I thought it was a holiday for Abraham Lincoln and George Washington’s birthdays. I also thought that if I grew up to be president that I would have a federal holiday for my birthday and serve only chocolate ice cream.
As I reflect on Presidents’ Day and the lessons from the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and commander-in-chief of the Union Army, I am reminded of lessons from my own father. Although he wasn’t in the army, he did serve in the Armed Forces.
He taught me that no one is an over night success. He taught me to believe in my dreams, because no one can take them away from you. He taught me that hard work and determination are always worth pursuing. He taught me how to treat people fairly and with respect. I, as an individual, will always be part of a team – whether it is personal or professional. And, my team may be my family, my work group, my neighborhood community, my state, my country and my planet. A team can have a few members or it can have over 7 billion. He taught me the 7Ps: Proper-prior-planning-prevents-piss-poor-performance. He taught me that Love is always stronger than Hate. He taught me to always fill the car with gas before you get on the turnpike.
I feel that the greatest lesson he taught me was responsibility. I am not only responsible for myself, but also for those within my sphere of influence. As I think of the National Debt for this country and realize that as a citizen, I am responsible for over $50,000 of the $16 Trillion dollars. I admit that I am not happy with having $50,000 worth of debt, however I am willing to admit my responsibility within this debt because I am a citizen of the United States. And, I have a responsiblity to participate and question what my government does. I have a responsibility to do my due-diligence about the individuals that want to speak on my behalf in my government. And, if I choice to blindly let individuals stay in office that do not share my interests or beliefs that I do not have the right to complain.
So, as you celebrate this Presidents’ Day consider the lessons of our past presidents’ and what have you learned?