Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents Day

"Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe, who presides in the council of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States.."

"...Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency."

From President George Washington's Inaugural Address, April 30th, 1789, addressed to both Houses of Congress.

Monday, February 15th is Presidents day. The first President of our country and the father of our republic, George Washington was born on Feb. 22, 1732. Now his birthday has been moved to the third Monday of February to make it more convenient for a three day holiday for Bank and Government Employees. If that wasn't bad enough, Washington's birthday is now sandwiched in with some another president's birthday. (A few words about The Real Lincoln at a later date.)

Back in the good old days we used to celebrate the birthday of the father of our country and it was a special day. We sang songs and we were proud of George Washington. He was First in war; he led the first continental army to victory over the British, First in Peace; he negotiated the surrender that ended the Revolution and helped to lead our fledgling colony on to forge a new nation, The United States of America. He was unanimously elected as our first president 1798 and became First in the hearts of his countrymen. (ok, boys and girls, back in the day, we didn't need to say his or her countrypersons. We all knew who we were and didn't need someone to remind us of our humanity.)

The revisionist history books in the schools today barely give any mention to our founding fathers. George Washington is given only passing mention as the first president. We are no longer told the inspiring stories of our country's beginning and our fight to live in freedom. The very founding principles and values that guided and led our founders have been suppress and edited out of the new texts. The truly great men and women who literally put their lives and everything that they possessed on the line to create our great country has been edited out of their new history of the United States.

In the winter of 1776, the war for our independence had suffered many significant and humiliating defeats and Washington's army was "broken and dispirited." They were sick, hungry and poorly equipped and thousands of the troops gave up and went home. To make matters worse, the war was losing support among the people. In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, it appeared that war was already over, that the Americans could never defeat the 32,000 British and Hessians mercenaries that they faced. But Washington refused to be intimidated or defeated.

It was at this time that Thomas Paine write a pamphlet called "The American Crisis" with those immortal opening lines:

"These are the times that try men' souls. The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country' but he that stands now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Paine's pamphlet spread like wildfire and Washington's army began to grow as new recruits enlisted. Washington knew that he needed to take the initiative and strike an aggressive and surprising blow. He made the decision to risk everything by quietly crossing the Delaware River to attack a key Hessian outpost at Trenton, New Jersey.

On Christmas day 1776 Washington marched his army to the river in a freezing rain and by 11 P.M. a full-blown nor'easter struck with hail, snow and wind. Ice on the river slowed the crossing and only a third of the army successfully made it across. They were three hours behind schedule. Despite the losses, in spite of the weather and his diminished forces, spirits were high and Washington decided to go forward with the attack. Washington's marching order and the password that night was "Liberty or Death".

In broad daylight, the Hessians were taken by surprise. Within 45 minutes, 21 Hessians were killed, 90 wounded and about 900 were taken as prisoners. Only four of Washington's troops were wounded in battle and two soldiers froze to death during the march. The British were stunned. They were a vastly superior military force and not accustomed to such defeats, especially by a volunteer army made up of mostly poorly trained and under-equipped farmers and tradesmen. The course of history had suddenly, miraculously it seemed, been changed because a small band of determined men and their leader.

While the war would continue for another six and a half years, the short decisive battle of Trenton proved to be the pivot point in our war for independence.

In Washington's address to the Constitutional Convention 1787, he said: "Without a humble imitation of the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, we can never hope to be a happy nation."

* For the full account of this winter campaign read "Washington's Crossing" by David Hackett Fisher.

Things to do Today:
Take time to give thanks to your Creator for the life and the greatness of the Father of our country, George Washington.

Read: A New Age of Jefferson: New Hampshire’s “Free Staters” started it all,

Read: Save Your Confederate Money, by J.D. Longstreet at;

Eat something tasty and check out;

No comments: