The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Presidents

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

18 February 2005

As I reflect on the national holiday we are celebrating this Monday, "Presidents Day" I think of our two most honored Presidents - George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Washington was born February 22, 1732 into a Virginia planter family. "He learned the morals, manners, and body of knowledge requisite for an 18th century Virginia gentleman," it says on the Whitehouse website under history of Presidents. He was 57 when he took his oath of office as America's first President of the United States, and enjoyed less than three years of retirement at Mount Vernon. He died at age 67 of a throat infection December 14, 1799.

His desire for democracy, integrity, and leadership resulted in his election as first Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, and his awareness that the Nation under its Articles of Confederation was not functioning well, made him a prime mover in the steps leading to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787.

President Lincoln, our 16th President, was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in as well. He stood strong in the fight to hold our states united during the Civil War. Born Feb. 12, 1809, his upbringing was quite different than Washington's. "Lincoln made extraordinary efforts to attain knowledge while working on a farm, splitting rails for fences, and keeping store at New Salem, Illinois. He was a captain in the Black Hawk War, spent eight years in the Illinois legislature, and rode the circuit of courts for many years. His law partner said of him, "His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest."

What a heritage that continues to inspire leaders today.