BY Bill Reagan
Many admire President Trump. Many despise him. The same can be said of every sitting president. Presidents often receive greater recognition after leaving office. Harry Truman was the least popular president in history when he left the Oval Office in 1953. Most now consider him to have been a great president.
Forty-four men have held the nation’s highest office. Mr. Trump is the forty-fifth president because Grover Cleveland held the office twice. He was the twenty-second and twenty-fourth president.
Someday a woman will be our president. So far our presidents have been men, and they have been only men. Some have risen to greatness. Others are known to us only as names on street signs.
This week is Washington’s Birthday, February 22nd. A federal holiday established by an act of Congress in 1879, Washington’s Birthday has been celebrated on the third Monday of February since 1971. The federal holiday is still known as “Washington’s Birthday.”
Only George Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr. have received the recognition of a federal holiday in their honor. In twenty-five states President’s Day celebrations include honoring Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is February 12th.
Lincoln and Washington tower above all the other presidents and are worthy of such a celebration.
Many have noted how the office ages the man. President Obama and President George W. Bush turned grey in their time of office. President Truman and President Jefferson were known to have suffered excruciating headaches almost daily during their presidencies. The public never knew.
President Kennedy once said in a television interview “The president makes no easy decisions. If they were easy they would have been made at a lower level.” That from the man who saved the world from nuclear war.
Mr. Trump’s presidency has created hope for some, alarm for many others. This week, honor the man who made America great, George Washington, “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of His countrymen.”
Bill Reagan is executive director of Loaves & Fishes of the Rio Grande Valley.