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Presidents Day 2014

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Today is Presidents Day. We are expected to celebrate our Presidents, even the ones who weren't that good or memorable. And we do that at the expense of the ones who truly do merit a certain reverence. Washington, Lincoln: you guys are as good as Millard Fillmore or James Buchanan.

To be fair, the official holiday is still known, at the federal level, as Washington's Birthday. That is how it should be. The importance of General Washington to our history simply cannot be overstated; it is widely held by historians that we would not have survived as a nation without his leadership. His demeanor, the respect he commanded: he was the one person Americans would unite under, and they did.

It is not fair to his memory that we are now expected to think of all the men who served as President. Many of then simply don't merit the recognition no matter what they may have sacrificed in gaining the office. It is not fair either that the Monday Holiday Law bounces Washington's Birthday around for the sake of convenience. Further, it is not fair that such days are marked more by sales, weekend trips, and days off work more than for what the holiday is supposed to represent: a reflection on important even ts and figures in our history.

Try doing that, instead of or before whatever else you want to do today. Think about what Washington means to our being here this day. Read a passage about him, even if it's simply on Wikipedia. Take a second and look at a dollar bill or a quarter and reflect on why we would put the image of an old general on our coinage. Remember while you do that that our ability to do all the things we take readily for granted are only so because of the work and sacrifice of men like our first President, and be even for the moment grateful.

Then go ahead and do what you like. We suspect that the General himself would approve of it.

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