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Today’s Favorite Quotes – Presidents Day

Quotes for February 18, 2013

Today is “Presidents” Day.  It is a three day weekend that we got in place of Lincoln’s and Washington’s Birthdays.  When I was a boy both those days (Feb 16th & Feb 22nd respectively) were each celebrated as a national holiday.  The days were set aside in deference to the leadership (moral and military) that these two men gave us in the midst of two dark times in our history.

Now, they have been combined and the specific deeds of these great men have been lost in the euphemism “Presidents Day”.   Now, it seems, it stands for all presidents; including such shining lights as G.W. Bush, of recent infamy and the ever admirable R.M. Nixon; as if they belong mentioned in association with Lincoln and Washington. 

To my mind this is a travesty too hard to accept.  Although I know the American worker enjoys the three day weekend and businesses enjoy yet another excuse to sell us stuff; I can’t help but think a few hours focused on the thoughts and deeds of either of these two original honorees would do most of us some real good.

So, here are a few quotes from each of them – to meditate on, if you are so inclined.

George Washington

“As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.”

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

“99% of failures come from people who make excuses.”

“Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder. ”

Abraham Lincoln

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow.  The shadow is what we keep thinking of; but the tree is the real thing”

“The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.”

“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but can not do at all, or can not so well do, for themselves – in their separate, and individual capacities.”


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