Monday Mottoes – #178
Today in the United States, it’s Presidents’ Day, commemorating the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln (February 12th) and George Washington (February 22nd). Washington was the first president and Lincoln was the sixteenth, both men known for stellar leadership and outstanding guidance for the country. While many Americans celebrate with a day off from school or work and discounted sales at the local shopping mall, families also enjoy patriotic parades, ceremonies and events.
The Bartologimignano family is blessed to live in our nation’s capital, not too far from President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home and General George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon. In the case of the former, President Lincoln and his family lived here for three summers, or about a quarter of his presidency, during the Civil War of the mid-1800s. It was not an escape from the war, instead, Lincoln preferred meeting wounded soldiers and self-emancipated individuals whom he would not normally encounter within the confines of the White House. On his commute, he had time to mix with everyday people and formulate his emancipation proclamation.
Mount Vernon’s history is very similar. General Washington lived on his estate prior to and following his presidency during the second half of the 1700s. Similar to Lincoln’s Cottage, the Mount Vernon mansion fell into disrepair after that and was rescued through the good will of women just before the Civil War who felt it was a shame. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association organized (unheard-of for the time), bought and renovated the property without asking for funds from the government and kept the site open to both Union and Confederate soldiers paying their respects during the war (as long as they arrived unarmed). It is now home to a huge research library, visitor’s center and museum, a restaurant and other eateries, along with his mansion with period furnishings and a riot of wall colors as it would have been in his day— well worth a visit.
President Washington, as America’s first leader, set the tone for presidents to come. His thoughtfulness, humility, and strength in the face of adversity were welcome character traits modeled for the country and those who would follow him. Today, we have one of his quotes:
“Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience.” ~ George Washington
Conscience, we could all use a little more of that. The inner urging to do the right thing, even when others are not watching, making our family, community and country the best that they can become.
God bless America, land that I love, stand beside her, and guide her, through the night with a light from above.
Happy Presidents’ Day, everyone!