How many people know that Presidents Day is actually George Washington’s birthday?
In honor of Presidents Day, tributes are paid to some of the most famous U.S. presidents. Four of the most influential men to hold the highest position in the executive branch of the government were George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt – all of which served a form of military service.
Washington, the “Father of Our Country”, was known as the Army’s father and leader. The following, written by Washington on June 26, 1775 – eleven days after being appointed as commander-in-chief – may be one of the best examples of leadership:
“…When we assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen; and we shall most sincerely rejoice with you in that happy hour when the establishment of American liberty, upon the most firm and solid foundations, shall enable us to return to our private stations in the bosom of a free, peaceful, happy country.”
Jefferson, the third president serving the United States, wanted to “form a more perfect union.” On March 4, 1801, Jefferson said in his inaugural address, “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”
Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, was a strong believer in freedom. He proved that by signing the infamous document that freed the slaves. In an annual message to Congress in 1862, Lincoln said, “In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve.”
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt became president in 1901, and being known for his delicate words, the teddy bear was named after him. During that year, his speech included words that are repeated and widely spoken today by other presidents and leaders throughout the world: “Speak softly and carry a big stick, and you will go far.”
The writings and teachings of all of these men continue to be studied and followed over time. But who will be the next well-known and liked president that is admired like these four?