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Celebrating the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln


I remember when I was in grade school, February was when we celebrated and learned about some of our favorite presidents. We learned about President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln who both had birthdays in February. On February 12th we cut out silhouettes of President Lincoln and placed them on the windows of our classroom. On February 22nd we did the same for President Washington. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about these great American leaders, and it made us proud to be Americans. The whole nation celebrated these great men.


Then suddenly things changed. The third Monday of February was designated as President's Day. It is a federal holiday to honor all persons who served in the office of president of the United States. The birthdays of these two great men are no longer observed on the appropriate days. Although President's Day is specifically to honor George Washington who led the Continental Army to victory in the American Revolutionary War and presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and was the first president of the United States, these details are lost in the commercialism of the day.


Instead of recalling and wondering whether Washington really did cut down the cherry tree or whether Lincoln lived in a log cabin and read by the light of the fireplace, we go shopping to get special "deals" the stores offer.


What is happening to the great pride we used to have in our country? That pride used to strengthen us. It gave us hope. It gave us optimism to carry on their honor. This was our American heritage. Our nationalism was strengthened because of our shared language, culture, and values. Is that almost gone? Or can we regain it? Let's teach these values to the next generation of American children.


Today is George Washington's birthday. Let's celebrate it!

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