Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day

This is my 100th blog post! Coincidentally it falls on President's Day, so now we have two reasons to celebrate. But I'm home sick today, so I won't be doing any partying. Just some reflecting on this country and the leaders we have had. These two are my favorites:
In an early biography of George Washington, Mason Weems wrote about the good character of our first president, saying that "It is not then, in the glare of public, but in the shade of private life that we are to look for the man. Private life is always real life. Behind the curtain, where the eyes of the million are not upon him and where a man can have no motive but inclination, no incitement but honest nature, there he will always be sure to act himself: consequently, if he act greatly, he must be great indeed."

There are many things I love about John Adams, including the devotion of his life to serving his nation. He said, "Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives." His wife Abigail, recognizing the great character of her husband and some of his contemporaries wrote, "These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and statesman."

Let us celebrate Presiden't Day by being the best American citizens we can be.


Donnie Barnes said...

So what single book would you most recommend someone read on early presidential history? It can be on one of the early presidents (let's limit it through Lincoln) or a book on several. Just curious.

Lady Holiday said...

I would wholeheartedly recommend "John Adams" by David McCullough, as well as his other masterpiece, "1776." One book that might be good is "His Excellency: George Washington" by Joseph J. Ellis, but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. "John Adams" not only covers the life of the great president, but details the whole state of the nation during his life, full of the most fascinating details.