Today is “President’s Day.” Today we honor some of the founding “fathers” of our nation. I feel like calling them the founding “leaders” today. I think that sounds appropriate, don’t you?
Presidents’ Day is an American holiday. So, any of my non-U.S. readers can take a quick nap. But come back toward the end for the leadership application. Traditionally, it is celebrated on the third Monday in February. It was originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington. The one most known as a Founding Father. And, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the U.S. federal government.
Just a little history
Many years ago, it was celebrated on February 22nd — George Washington’s actual day of birth. However, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was relocated on the calendar as part of the U.S. Congress’s 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act in an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s hard-working citizens. While a few states still honor the actual individual days honoring the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Presidents’ Day is now seen as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.
I will resist the temptation to comment on individual presidents that I liked or disliked. That would do little good and would run counter to the rest of this piece.
So, instead, will you join with me and say “Thank you!” to men like John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, and yes, George Washington.
Not all of the men on that list were President of the United States at one time. Some sought the highest elected office in the land. But, some were not successful. Benjamin Franklin was never the President of the U.S. in fact, he never sought the office. But few will argue against the incredible impact that he had on the formative years of our nation. These are the kinds of leaders that we are looking for today. Do you think there are any more Adams, or Franklins, or Hamiltons, or Jays, or Jeffersons, or Madisons, Lincolns, or, Washingtons to be found today?
These men were men just like you and me. They were businessmen, soldiers, farmers, and artisans before they were founding fathers. But something deep inside them longed for freedom and liberty and they decided that it was worth giving up everything that they possessed in order to live in freedom and liberty for them and for their posterity. For most of them, it cost them everything to lead this nation in its infancy. That is something to think about today when the TV will blare sales advertising for mattresses and new cars.
A Call for New Founding Fathers
Where are the Jeffersons, Washingtons, Lincolns, Adams, Franklins, Jays, Madisons, and Hamiltons today? Are there any out there? If you don’t see any, then maybe it is you that needs to step up and be a “founding father” for the next generation? It may cost you everything. And yet you may gain the respect and admiration of the generations that follow because you were there to lead when your country needed you.
I am not calling you to political leadership today. The original Founding Fathers were too busy trying to build a nation against incredible odds of success to think about politics and what was in it for them. I am calling you to something a little closer to home. I am calling you to sacrifice for the sake of someone else and to give yourself to a cause that will benefit those that will follow you.