Yesterday, the third Monday of February, Americans across the country enjoyed a relaxing day off from school and work thanks to the alleged Presidents’ Day marked on most calendars. Suprisingly though, Presidents’ Day doesn’t actually exist.
Ever since 1968, when America was trying to provide more three-day-weekends for its citizens to enjoy, federal law decreed that the third Monday of every February was “George Washington’s birthday” even though his historically accurate birthday is either February 11, 1731, or February 22, 1732. So how did it come to be known as “Presidents’ Day?” According to Prologue, the magazine of national archives, it was thanks to a department store, which noted that it cleared more inventory when its sales promotions were tailored to include all American Presidents instead of just the first.
So what does this mean for Americans as a whole, and in particular, Chaldean-Americans? Should they look at, and think of this holiday as just an excuse to have a three-day weekend? Is there any quality in our presendents even worth celebrating?
I answer emphatically “yes.”
It is not without good reason that many of our nation’s past presidents have become the personifications of virtues and values that this nation, and any God-fearing human being, should hold dear. George Washington alone is a Christ-like model of honesty and truth; because of the famous cherry tree story from his childhood, the slogan “I cannot tell a lie” is attributed to him even to this day. He embodies a Christan courage and strength sorely lacking in many Americans today, facing the bitter winters of the Northeast alongside all his men, leading them to repeated victories against the British during the Revolutionary War. And if it wasn’t for his inspiring and tactical move to cross the half-frozen Delaware, on Christmas Day, 1776, then none of the colonists would ever have dared to hope that the Continental Army ever stood a chance.
While many historical accounts are embellished for the sake of story, their core remains true. George Washington is the father of a nation founded on principles and values meant to better its inhabitants and to provide for them a country where each man can worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience. A fighter of lost-causes, a magnanimous leader, and a good man, George Washington is an example for what any American should aspire to be like, and someone every Chaldean American should be thankful towards.
And that is something to celebrate.