Thursday, February 22, 2007
But For George...
Today is George Washington’s birthday – the day for which President’s Day was originally designed to celebrate. As my political blog takes its name from a term which was originally attributed to Washington by a Heavenly Messenger, I thought it appropriate to take some time this morning to pay tribute to the Father of this great nation.
Most Americans know Washington for his heroic exploits in the Revolutionary War. The accounts of his daring Christmas Day attack on the Hessian forces in Trenton – appropriately portrayed in The Crossing – and his buoying up of the Continental Army’s spirits through the winter at Valley Forge are testaments to the character of the man whose devotion to country outweighed all else.
What is not often said of Washington is the fact he never really sought the power and office which he attained. He was often quoted as saying he would much rather spend his time cultivating his fields and home at Mount Vernon than sit as the President receiving kings and ministers from around the world. I took some time this President’s Day to visit George and Martha’s home and after sitting in the rocking chairs on the porch overlooking the Potomac River it was easy to understand why George would feel that way.
I came across an interesting video today that begs the question “What would the world be like but for George?” What if he had declined his country’s call and stayed on Mount Vernon as a private citizen? What if he hadn’t presided over this nation and the world’s first experiment in government of the people, by the people and for the people? Take a look for yourself:
Washington greatest gift to his country was his presiding over the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. His presence gave a sense of legitimacy to the proceedings through that sweltering summer. He sat in a chair with a sun carved into the seat back – a sun which Benjamin Franklin later declared to be a rising one – and he always believed the best days of this nation always laid before her.
George served two terms as America’s first President. As he left office, he gave what has come to be known as his “Farewell Address”. Since 1862, by tradition, the United States Senate calls on one of its members to read this address into the record on or near Washington’s Birthday. His last words to his country as her President are recorded as these:
Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors and dangers.Take some time today to reflect upon the great gift the original Son of the Republic gave to his nation, and what a better place the world is for America's being in it.
Here endeth the lesson.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
An Answer To One Of Life’s Great Mysteries
Like most red blooded American Men, I watched the Super Bowl last Sunday. I make a point of watching it every year regardless of who is playing. The Super Bowl is a celebration of all things uniquely American, and I like that kind of stuff.
I’m glad Peyton Manning finally got his ring. I’ve always liked the guy. He’s very good at what he does. When I played the game, I played on the interior defensive line – therefore I don’t have a lot of respect for Quarterbacks. Other than the Brett Favre of yesteryear, I’ve never seen a Quarterback make a block or tackle anybody. So when I compliment a Quarterback, just know it takes a lot for me to do so.
My respect for Manning pre-dates his first snap as a Colt. He played his college ball at Tennessee and had a phenomenally successful junior season. There was a huge amount of pressure for him to forego his senior year and turn pro before finishing college. Peyton turned down the stacks of greenbacks being waved in his face and finished out his college career. He took a great physical and professional risk to do that, and that’s why I respect him. Now he’s got his ring and can claim his rightful place among the great QBs ever to play the game.
Now, on to the point of this post. Every year I see the champion players and coaches take the field wearing T-Shirts and Ball Caps emblazoned with their team logos proclaiming them to be the champions. These trinkets must be produced prior to game time, so I’ve always wondered what happens to the T-Shirts and Caps proclaiming the loser to be the winner.
Well, Captain Ed has now answered one of life’s great mysteries. The relief organization World Vision takes the merchandise (in this case the Chicago Bears’ stuff) and ships it to the furthest nether regions of Africa with the requirement that the shirts and caps never see the shores of the US again.
No doubt there are some people in Chicago who, after going through the seven stages of grief, will take heart in knowing that someplace in Africa people think the Bears are Super Bowl Champs.