Isaac Newton, once said, "If I have seen farther, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of Giants." We Americans have a great legacy of presidential leadership and patriotism.
As we celebrate Presidents Day, we remember the legacy and contributions of our greatest leaders. However, today I would like to focus on our first president.
George Washington was the first president of the United States of America. He served two terms as president, over the period from 1789 two 1797.
Before he became president, he played important roles in the military, leading the American Continental Army to victory over the British in 1783. Washington's patriotic leadership is inspiring because he led in a time of great difficulty, challenge, and uncertainty. He had none of the amenities of the modern world, nor the stability of strong government. For many families, having food on daily basis, during a harsh winter was a luxury. During such a difficult time, Washington was called to "free us" from the repression of the British. Eleanor Roosevelt describes the challenges best in one of her "My Day" letters.
"To me, the days at Valley Forge best show the stuff of which Washington was made. He went through great discouragement, with an Army that was ragged, poorly fed and never warm, with insufficient ammunition, and with a divided government back of him which often provided no money with which to pay his soldiers.
His soldiers were deeply concerned about their homes and families. Because they knew that food would be lacking at home if the seeds were not planted and the harvest garnered, they frequently asked to go home in groups which made the strength of his army uncertain, even though they promised to return.
What vision Washington must have had of the future to make him fight the Revolution through to victory! No wonder he was tired at the end, no wonder he longed to join his wife and live in peace at Mount Vernon. How simple the little problems of farm management must have seemed as he labored at his desk at Valley Forge!" – Eleanor Roosevelt
As we commemorate Presidents' Day, let us think of the great sacrifice, service, and patriotism of our presidents. However, let us not forget our first president. George Washington. He was a giant among men. He carried the weight of a nation, and became the father of our great nation. He was a true American patriot.
Sir Knights, brothers, we are called to be like Washington! We are called to be patriots for we have stood on the shoulders of giants!
"Today, the Knights of Columbus is providentially positioned to play a key role in the new alliance between the Church and the family called for by Pope Francis … What is necessary now is our greater involvement in the renewal of parish and family life."
-Supreme Knight Carl Anderson