Today is Presidents Day, a day we as a nation have set aside to honor our country's leaders. It's a day that deserves to be observed, even if it has in recent years become little more than a reason for many to be off work and for students to enjoy a day away from school.
We live in an age of instant news coverage and of continuous poling, a time when it has become fashionable to look for reasons to degrade the presidency. But think, for a moment, what the presidency represents to not only the residents of the United States of America, but to the rest of the world.
It's one office that continues to stand as a constant. The presidency represents all that is great about our country. Every four or eight years - depending on the will of the people - our country conducts a peaceful transfer of power in the executive branch.
Presidents Day was originally a celebration of George Washington's birthday. There also was a day set aside to honor Abraham Lincoln's birthday. It was logical to combine the two holidays as a way to remember two men who humbly served their nation in very admirable ways.
Generations of students have been taught that Washington stood for integrity and honesty, and that Lincoln stood for freedom for all -and for understanding that no one is less equal than any one else.
And while it's become fashionable to try to tear down those legends, it's comforting to know that millions of people around the world have developed a new appreciation of Lincoln's story through the Steven Spielberg's film simply titled "Lincoln."
As Americans, we are free to disagree with our politicians. Many Americans support our current president, Barack Obama, and many don't. That's not the lesson of today, though. Whatever side your politics falls on, we must remember what the office of the presidency stands for and remember that we can never win the hearts and minds of the residents of the world if we stop believing in our institutions.
Think about that today, and be thankful for the legacies left by Washington and Lincoln.