Monday, February 15, 2010

Washington The Worthy

Here we are with back to back holidays of Valentine's Day and President's Day and a post by our own Duchesse on repurposing V-Day which is certainly an interesting idea.
She leaves us with this excellent suggestion
Not everyone has a family where love abounds. But everyone needs love, and why not stop for a day to connect with love in all its forms, from the altruistic to sensual? Sure beats celebrating presidents, pilgrims or Queen Victoria.
But I politely disagreed in her comments section on pilgrims and here I'm going to disagree on presidents.
Way back in ancient history, otherwise known as my childhood, we had a holiday for Washington's birthday. Years later this holiday celebrating the father of our country morphed into the catch all President's Day.
Well I for one don't think that we need to celebrate Presidents in general, but George Washington is certainly an exceptional man and his life is worthy of our celebration.
Washington Crossing The Delaware by Emanuel Leutze
1776 by David McCullough

I'm not going to go into a long dissertation here but I want to point out that Washington was a brilliant commander who successfully fought the far superior British forces and won. He then ushered in the office of the Presidency and then humbly stepped aside.
Unlike Napoleon, who crowned himself Emperor and drank his own kool-aid to the detriment of France and the greater Europe, Washington remained true to the idea of American representative government and individual liberty.
He was a truly great man and a snappy dresser too! If you haven't read 1776 I recommend that you do.

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M.Lane said...

You are absolutely right! GW is one of my few heros and I try to write a post on him every year on his birthday. Another biographer called him the "Indispensible Man". How true.


Deja Pseu said...

I read 1776 a couple of years ago; it was riveting! I've been wanting to read some more David McCullough, have a few on my list.

I'm also old enough to remember when we had two school holidays. ;-)

Mardel said...

I'm reading 1776 now and it is fascinating. I've long admired Washington, and think we forget how much we owe him. I think "President's day" does a disservice to both Washington and Lincoln, whose birthdays were both celebrated when I was a child, and who both made significant contributions to creating the life and country we take for granted.

La Belette Rouge said...

My He-weasel shares his bday with Lincoln and that usually means he gets an extra day off for President's Day. It works out well for us.
I have never read much about George. Ben Franklin has been my main man in history. But, I am willing to give George a try.;-)

Angie Muresan said...

I read it last winter, not expecting to be as drawn in as I was.

Belle de Ville said...

M. Lane
Thank you all for your comments!
I'm so happy that all of you have either read this book or are considering reading it.

Wildernesschic said...

I think I am going to read this book as I am ashamed to say I know very little about this man and very little about American history. My father once gave me a book to read about British social history in the years between 1800-1860 and I was astonished at how much things had changed in just over 100 years.. I find history fascinating .. especially now I am becoming part of it LOL

tintin said...

I think Flexner was best with his books on GW although that was a while ago.

He always interested me. The arranged marriage to Martha. Loveless at first but growing very strong. No children between them. Their love letters that Martha burned. His trust in Arnold and his naive trust in Arnold's wife, Peggy.

The man was complicated. And he was first. And I think all you gotta do is go to Mt Vernon to understand him. It's that beautiful.

Belle de Ville said...

Wilderneschic, I do encourage you to read this book...God knows how important George Washington's actions were to the history of England!
Tintin, I too am amazed at how his arranged marriage resulted in such a deep respectful love for Martha.

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