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On Presidents’ Day, let’s work on moving the country forward, not divisions based on hate


I wrote the following article for Presidents’ Day 2011. It’s worth repeating during the dreadful presidential campaign we’re having this year where some candidates are preaching hate. What’s so amazing about it is that it talks about how many of the founding fathers were immigrants. And how many people in this country have parents or grandparents that are immigrants, myself included:

While Presidents’ Day is a holiday many Americans spend taking a day off or shopping, it’s also a time look at the heritage of this great, but young country.

President George Washington lead troops in the American Revolution against Great Britain and served as the country’s first president. Abraham Lincoln refused to divide the country and freed the slaves.

George Washington was an immigrant, born in Great Britain, as were presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson. I learned this from a Presidents’ Day quiz.

My ancestors were immigrants, too. My grandfather Peter Slingsby was born in Great Britain in 1856 and came to America when he was about 8 years old. When I worked as a planner, it surprised me to learn that the parents or grandparents of two-thirds Americans of weren’t born in the U.S. That’s me.

Today the United States faces enormous challenges. We’re a great country, but we’ve become distracted by political divisions that are being fanned by the media.

On Presidents’ Day, take the time to determine how you can help do something positive for the country.

Martha Randolph, author of A Place to Call Home, said in an opinion piece The (Fall River, Mass.) Herald News:

    This Presidents Day let’s all take a break from trying to find fault with our president and instead take a moment to feel a little gratitude for a system that lets us vote our conscience every four years and hand over the power in a peaceful, orderly system to whomever the majority has picked. That’s especially poignant given what’s happening in the streets of several Middle East countries right now.

Randolph suggests celebrating the day by having cherry pie with family and friends.

I agree. Let’s celebrate and strive to move the country forward positively.

In another Presidents' Day article, “Presidents’ Day Is a Good Time to Celebrate Democracy,” I offered suggestions for marking this holiday, also a good idea.

Copyright 2016, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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Tom Sightings

What a great sentiment. I'm off to find some cherry pie!


Hi Tom,

Yes, it's good to think of something positive to do about celebrating America rather than tearing other people apart.


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