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
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.
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?
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
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
Comment on this article