The Presidents’ Day

Perhaps, if we, as Americans hold the office in the esteem it deserves, then maybe, just maybe, those who hold the Office and those who seek it, will too.

In 1971 under President Richard Nixon, the federal government established the idea of moving as many federal holidays to a Monday as possible. So, rather than celebrating President Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th and  President Washington’s birthday on February 22nd, we celebrate ALL the presidents on one day, the third Monday in February. If you are my age, or a perhaps a older, you will likely remember the construction paper cutouts on the cork boards, the red cutout hearts, the black silhouette cutout of President Lincoln in one corner and one of President Washington in the other. Of course in every classroom, above the large and small letters of the alphabet, was the picture replicated below here by artist Ken Curtis. If you’re like me, you always wondered why it wasn’t finished.

george-washington

Was there a time when those two presidents, or  any of the presidents, held a more esteemed place in the minds and hearts of American citizens? Was there any time when those who held the Office of President carried with them a fuller understanding of the weight of the responsibility and the history that it contains? Is there still a sense of awe by a citizen, or better yet by a long term president,  when they enter the Oval Office? I want there to be.

A very long time ago, I had just finished my Air Force basic training. I was then assigned to the Security Police Training Squadron at Lackland AFB, literally across the street from where I had my basic training. One of my first nights out was to go to the base theater to watch whatever was the newest available movie in 1975. I will never forget what happened next. Just before the movie was to start, the American flag filled the screen and the National Anthem began. Immediately, with a thunderous sound, one hundred plus Airmen stood to the feet, at attention. A wave of goosebumps washed over me and I knew that I had become part of something special.

That feeling returns to me every time the Stars and Stripes fly and in public places, I see Americans with their hands over their hearts or rendering a hand salute. Their is a wave of emotion when I stand as a flag draped coffin moves past me or as uniformed soldiers meticulously fold a flag to present it to a veteran’s survivor.

Whenever I travel across the world and I return to home, as I walk into a U.S. airport customs area and there is a large sign  by the American flag that says, Welcome to the United States of America, I am reminded of that feeling. When a customs officer hands me my passport and says, “Welcome Home” I know I have truly come home.

In the movie, National Treasure Book of Secrets, Ben (Nicholas Cage) is face to face with the President and says, “…And because you’re the President of the United States, sir. Whether by innate character or the oath you took to defend the Constitution or the weight of history that falls upon you, I believe you to be an honorable man, sir.” The President Bruce Greenwood, says, “Gates, people don’t believe that stuff anymore.” And to the President, Gates replies: “They want to believe it.”

Whether you believe in a limited federal government and fiscal conservativeness or you believe in an expanded government with increasing social programs, you want to believe in that of which Gates spoke. If so, you are sick and tired of the fighting, backstabbing, limitless pettiness combined with gargantuan egos that have been the hallmark of the campaigns thus far.

May I suggest that on this President’s Day we continue to avoid what our forefather’s worried about, and that was the elevation of the Office of the President to royal status by remembering they are but humans? At the same time, I urges us to resolve to place on the Office the level of respect and integrity it demands. Perhaps, if we, as Americans hold the office in the esteem it deserves, then maybe, just maybe, those who hold the Office and those who seek it, will too.

The World Will Little Note…

A great deal of ink will be spilled over who was right… I pray that in is all that is spilled.

The election is finally over and for those on the conservative side of the house, there are a lot more questions than answers. A great deal of ink will be spilled over the issues and who is right.. etc. I pray that it is only ink that is spilled. Many people much smarter than I will dissect, analyze, and politicize every moment of the campaign to see where the Romney camp bobbed when they should have weaved and how the people took one on the chin. We are knocked down but not out, we have to sit for a moment on the canvas to  get our thoughts together. We really got our collective bell rung and now we have to chase away the cobwebs.

Abraham Lincoln, penned the Gettysburg addressed saying that the “world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; but they can never forget what they did here…” We are commanded to pray for our leaders, so that we might live as peaceful lives as possible. It is, however, Habakkuk that I think we should emulate at this time, because people will little note what I might write here.

Jerusalem was surrounded. Bad guys were everywhere. It seems the evil was winning. Then as Habakkuk prayed, God responded telling Habakkuk that He would do something in his day that he wouldn’t believe even if God had told him. Then Habakkuk responded and this is my prayer that Habakkuk’s response will be be my response as the days unfold before us. “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls- Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; he will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.”