“Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak and esteem to all.” President George Washington
Presidents’ Day Origins: For anyone who wonders about the origin of this special federal holiday that celebrates/honors two of America’s greatest Presidents; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the idea came in 1968, when the 90th Congress voted to shift three federal holidays, including George Washington’s Birthday to the 3rd Monday of February. There was resistance and objections raised but eventually in 1971 it became law. Interestingly, some refer to it as President’s Day though the more appropriate term is Presidents’ Day in honor of two not one President; both have birthdays in the same month. Of course, we know that one fallout of this holiday is the huge commercialization that occurs and the ads that invite all of us to shop, spend and enjoy new toys.
Stories: There are many fables/stories attributed over the years to specific presidents. Two that stand out are “The 20 Year Jinx” & “The Fable of George Washington and the Cherry Tree.” The 20 year jinx, also known as The Curse of Tippecanoe, was purported to be a curse placed on American presidents that every 20 years a president in office would die. While it seems that many did, the curse was believed to be broken when Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt while in office.
The Cherry Tree story connected to George Washington has, over the years, evolved into other versions, but had to do with the question of who chopped down a neighbor’s tree; a crime the young George admitted doing by responding he couldn’t lie – all to do with the value of speaking the truth… not telling a lie and an image created to show honesty as a character trait of the President. That story is believed to be a fable.
Nicknames: Many of us grew up with nicknames; usually some form/adaptation of our original name or something funny connected to our behavior or other aspects of our personality. The presidents had nicknames too and some I read were quite interesting or read … funny: POTUS – an acronym for President Of The United States used by the Secret Service and United States Military; John Quincy Adams – Old Man Eloquent – his eloquent speeches; John Adams – Atlas of Independence (his size); James Monroe – Last of the Cocked Hats (popular in his day); Martin Van Buren – Machiavellian Belshazzar & Old Kinderhook his personality and home; Franklin Pierce – Handsome Frank – referring to his appearance; George W. Bush – Dubya, W, and GW (Gee Dubya) – his pronunciation of W; William Jefferson Clinton- Comeback Kid ( Teflon Bill for his time in office); Chester A. Arthur – The Dude President – his style of clothing. More Below