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Monday, February 17, is Presidents’ Day in the United States.
In general, most people are aware that it’s a day set aside to honor the Americans who have served as our presidents throughout our nation’s history. But for many Americans, this holiday represents little more than an opportunity to relax at home or get out of town for an extended weekend.
Yet Presidents’ Day also celebrates a remarkable fact of our nation’s history that every American should be proud of: for 244 years, power has been transferred peacefully from one United States President to the next 44 times. This is not a power line determined by birth or military power, but by the people.
The history of Presidents’ Day begins, appropriately, with our first president, George Washington.
In September 1796, worn out by burdens of the presidency and attacks of political foes, George Washington announced his decision not to seek a third term. Washington knew that as the first ruler of our new nation he would have the once-in-a-generation opportunity to set a historic precedent for the Executive Office. With the history of lifelong rulerships of kings back in England, Washington believed a president should not view the office as a lifelong appointment but rather as a term of service to one’s nation. So, after serving two terms as president of our early nation, he announced he would not seek a third term as president.
With the assistance of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, Washington composed in a “Farewell Address” his political testament to the nation. Washington’s address included his carefully thought out counsel to the American people as they would ensure the success of the great American experiment. He wanted to remind them that religion and morality must remain the foundation and the fabric of our society:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jason Yates