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Presidents Day: Reflecting and Recognizing Leaders Who Guard the American Dream

Presidents Day is a federal holiday that falls on the third Monday of February, providing an opportunity to reflect on the leaders and lessons of Presidents of the United States of America. Originally established in 1885 to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, Presidents Day now stands as a beacon of national pride honoring the individuals who have led our country. In celebration of this year’s Presidents Day, LEAD is taking a moment to reflect on some of our celebrated presidents. 

Our nation’s first president, President George Washington, embodied the very essence of the American Dream. A leader commanding great respect, Washington rallied an army of farmers and tradesman to form a nation based on the freedoms of worship and free thought. Since the beginning of our United States, Washington’s name has been entwined in the ideals of dignity, virtue, and the ability for any person to achieve their American Dream.  

President Abraham Lincoln, the other president often celebrated on Presidents Day, ensured that every American has the freedom and opportunity. His Emancipation Proclamation ignited monumental change for America, and the abolition of slavery empowered generations of Americans – of every race – to chase their own American Dream. The effect of President Lincoln’s actions ripples through our communities today, proving the power of one person’s courage and conviction to alter the course of history.   

President John F. Kennedy is known for his dedication to country, as he often recalled his time in the armed forces as a motivating factor for leadership. His famous phrase is a reminder to work hard and live for the betterment of others:  

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”  

From President Kennedy, we recognize that the American Dream is more than an individual effort, but a force of people from all backgrounds selflessly working to achieve and preserve the ideals that makes our nation great.  

President Ronald Reagan believed the American Dream was best achieved through an economy that empowered individuals to provide for their families and enabled businesses to succeed in the marketplace. He once said this:  

“The American Dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American Dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become.”  

President Ronald Reagan

Reagan’s legacy lives on today as one of economic empowerment, limited government, and a free market that makes success attainable.  

This Presidents Day, we recognize all Americans who have made our nation into what it is today: a country where the impossible becomes possible and a nation where everyone can achieve their American Dream. Former Vice President Mike Pence said it best: 

“The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone. Frankly, there is almost no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.” 

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