A Holiday that should be Bigger!!
Today is Presidents’ Day, a day set aside tat to honor/remember those 43 people who have held the highest office in the land. I guess technically it is more designed to honor Washington and Lincoln since their birthdays are close on the calendar. I think that it probably does neither of the above things very well, if at all.
It is a federal holiday of course, so those of us who are postal workers take part. Schools seem to sorta use it or not, depending on the need for making up days lost to weather. ( I’m guessing most of them are using it today as a school day.) Banks seem to go with an either or approach.
I know, we used to have a day for George and Abe but they were consolidated when Martin Luther King, Jr day was added as a federal holiday. Both of those actions were correct, I believe. I’m not advocating an extra holiday just a better use of this one. I remain convinced that our educational system does not do well in educating its “charges” about our presidents. History, after all, is dull and boring, is it not? In our technologically advanced society, the greatest emphasis needs to be elsewhere.
I have been a big history fan for a long time. However, I did not become a fan until college. I have no great recollection of history teachers or subjects from public school, so the lack of emphasis is not a recent occurrence. My college history professors undoubtedly “juiced” up the subject in ways until now unknown to me.
So, what better aspect of American history to know than the men who have served in the White House(all but Washington, of course). So, a number of years ago, I began my quest to read at least one each president. That has proven to be a daunting task, as I have observed before. The tally right now is at 21, which is almost half of the total. Te problem lies in the dearth of books about the less familiar guys. You probably know them little if any. There is Harrison(William Henry and Benjamin) , Hayes, Taylor, Fillmore, etc. Libraries, at least our size, have either nothing about them or books dating of 50+ years old.
My mission continues ever so slowly and perhaps will one day be complete. I remain convinced that those who do not history are” doomed” to repeat it . And perhaps, just as telling, events and actions in the current administration have a historical precedent , sometimes deliberately.
I leave with this thought. President Obama’ s Oval Office desk is the same one used by Rutherford B Hayes. It is known as the Resolute desk and was a gift from Great Britain. The desk was constructed from the timbers of the British ship of the same name. To think that every president since Hayes ( except Johnson, Nixon and Ford) has used the desk is just a small example of the fascinating things we learn from our history.
Maybe you have no wish to read about all the presidents. Fine. I have a friend and fellow blogger who specializes in Washington and attempts to keep pace with new books that are still published. Maybe better than some of the “fancy fiction”, huh?
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