Lincoln, Washington, King, oh my!

Article first published as on LabelDaddy Blog 

Now that Christmas is over, it is time for the smattering of generic holidays to begin. According to most parents the various times off from school can be more frustrating than any holiday enjoyment possible. One may ask, “Why are we even celebrating these days to begin with?” and I think I can understand some of that frustration.  I mean, there is nothing special that usually goes on to commemorate these days? Well, nothing save teachers getting frustrated with the interruption, parents getting frustrated because the kids are suddenly home again, workers who do not have enough time to get their work done, and the kids who usually get cooped up due to the bad weather.  Let us take these holidays to focus on why Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Martin Luther King, Jr all have ranked federal holidays.Of course, the first obvious choice is due to historical points in time. I mean, George Washington was the head of the Revolutionary Army and our first president!  He crossed the Delaware in freezing cold!  Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and died for his country!  Martin Luther King Jr. worked to bring all colors together on an even playing field!  What we should be doing on these holidays is making sure that we know all the historical facts. True?  Not necessarily.

I always think the why is more important than the what.  What did these men have that enabled them to do things that have affected us for such a long time?  I mean, I will never be the head of the United States Army much less the Revolutionary Army.  I will never be an integral part of desegregating the South.  And I am definitely not going to free the slaves.  So what life lessons am I to take from these historical figures?

That is what I believe should be the focus of these holidays, the life lessons.  And be honest these were just men!  We do not need to study George Washington because of the story of the cherry tree.  We study George Washington’s character because he had the fortitude to stand and look Britain, the largest power in the world, in the face.  His integrity to what was right enables us to have the freedoms we treasure today.

Abraham Lincoln may be best known for freeing the slaves but he was so much more than that.  He came from modest beginnings in a log cabin, and became president of the United States.  He educated himself in the quietness at his mother’s knee.  He proved that determination can actually determine your future.

Martin Luther King, Jr proved that one man who is willing to be the voice for so many can and will be heard! That when fighting against your own, you actually can accomplish something without violence.  He proved that one man’s words can echo in infamy even if they weren’t his to begin with.  I mean, how many of us know “In the words of that old Negro spiritual, free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I am free at last”?

So, maybe what we should take away from this smattering of generic days is a call to integrity of character, self-determination, and being willing to be used.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *