President’s Day was earlier this week, but today’s the legitimate day George Washington was born and graced the earth with his presence. George Washington is my hero! This man was filled with courage, integrity, and wisdom.
Washington was Commander in Chief of the Continental Army for 8 years as the struggling American colonies fought England and its allies from 1775-1783. The hardships he faced during those years were daunting. It was truly a miracle we won.
But when the American colonies did win, instead of stepping up to seize power (as many wanted him to do because Washington was so revered and looked up to by his peers and countrymen), Washington immediately resigned, proving his opposition to dictatorship and his commitment to American republicanism. You go, George!
Next, he won the electoral college–UNANIMOUSLY–and became the first president of the new country. If that wasn’t enough to give a man a big head, I don’t know what was! But he said:
“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”
Seriously, this man was so good. This is the kind of hero we need to hold up to our kids and students to emulate! This is the kind of man (and woman) we each need to try to be ourselves.
As President, he refused a salary of $25,000 a year, feeling he could not receive any pecuniary benefit for serving his country. Wow! He presided over the writing of the United States Constitution, helping to establish great freedoms and checks and balances to set the new nation on a firm, safe path.
In the presidency, he worked closely with Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson (who sounded like two bulls that liked to butt heads with each other). Instead of choosing a side and ostracizing the other, Washington–like the good leader he was–consulted with each of them to get opposing sides of each issue. And because he was able to do this, he was able to make educated decisions. What wisdom! We need another Washington NOW.
I read a book years ago about Washington (before I tracked my reading on Goodreads.com). I’ve forgotten the title and author (much to my chagrin; I tried to google and find it the other night, but it’s been so long that nothing grabbed me. Sigh. Maybe my sister remembers). All I know is that I loved Washington even more after reading it. He didn’t want political parties, and even warned against them in his farewell address. Even though he probably leaned more toward the federalists, he never declared himself as one, and he surrounded himself with men of both affiliations. Because of his neutrality, he was able to do what was good for the COUNTRY…instead of the dang political party. I wish we had heeded his advice. (Forgive me as I sniff and cry for a moment. Political parties and their power irritate me to no end).
Sorry if I’ve bored you with my patriotic tribute, but I couldn’t let this day pass without shouting out some praise to my HERO, George. In this day and age when religion and morality is put down, I love to remember honor, virtue, courage and integrity. He counseled:
“Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.”
And this one…“Make sure you are doing what God wants you to do–then do it with all your strength.”
In everything he did, Washington set a high standard. He said of his presidency: “I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.”
I say that’s a good motto to live by. Live as if, you, too, are setting a precedent for others to follow. Chances are, you really are. Let it be a good one.