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Presidents Day: Remembering Past Presidents
by USMC Lance Cpl. Norman Eckles - February 18, 2013

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MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. - As far back as I can remember, there's a day each February that I've gotten off from school or work. It's called Presidents Day; but I couldn't tell you much more than that ... until now.

(Left to right) U.S. Presidents George Washington, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. Image collage by USMC Lance Cpl. Norman Eckles
(Left to right) U.S. Presidents George Washington, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. Image collage by USMC Lance Cpl. Norman Eckles

 

When I first researched this holiday and what American presidents have done for this country, it was easy to see why we have this holiday. From George Washington's multiple victories in battle to John F. Kennedy's inspiring plans for the U.S.

We have the day off to remember men like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and the other 40 men who became the nation's commander in chief.

George Washington, our first president, led the rebellion to victory, against the British Army in the Revolutionary War, and was one of the founding fathers of our country. Many academic scholars have agreed if we didn't have him, we would've lost the war. Would we, as a country, have seceded from Great Britain without him?

The 16th president, Abraham Lincoln's actions led to the creating and signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation liberated blacks in the North from slavery and gave them the opportunity to live normal lives.

If the proclamation was never created and signed, would Americans still think it's socially acceptable to dehumanize a man or woman base on the color of their skin? Would the world have missed out on significant men in history, such as Jackie Robinson and his athletic prowess or Martin Luther King Jr., and his words of passion?

In 1929, at the end of the Roaring Twenties, America's stock market crashed sending the U.S. into the Great Depression. In 1933, President Roosevelt created the New Deal, a series of economic programs enacted throughout the country to help stimulate the economy. He also created laws, acts and plans that combined, help pull the U.S. out of the Great Depression.

Now think about if Roosevelt never became president. Would the U.S. have recovered as well as it did from the dismal economic state it was in? Would we have been able to go to war with our economy so low?

Seventeen years later, the U.S. elected a young man to be president, named John F. Kennedy. This man saved the U.S. during the Cold War. Kennedy spent two days negotiating with the Soviet Union and Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The crisis lasted 13 days. Kennedy “quarantined” Cuba from the Soviets by surrounding Cuba with naval ships, thus allowing Kennedy to negotiate with the Soviet's leader, Nikita Khrushchev, to take his nuclear weapons out of Cuba.

Imagine if Kennedy never negotiated with Soviet leaders. Would either country be in existence? What if a nuclear war happened, where would our country be in today?

These four men played significant roles in society and changed the course of history for our country. Today, we enjoy many of the freedoms and luxuries we have because of them. This Presidents Day, let's take a moment to reflect on what presidents have done for this country and how they have paved the way for our future, and for generations to come.

By USMC Lance Cpl. Norman Eckles
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2013

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