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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, George

George Washington is one of my favorite presidents. Another favorite is John Quincy Adams. Mmmm and I read several books on Early American History, and we both decided these were men worthy of admiration and emulation

George Washington was a reluctant hero. He had led the American troops to victory over the British and was a reluctant president. I have read a number of his prayers and addresses and his moral fiber and personal ethics show through. He steadfastly refused to serve longer than 2 terms as president. He didnít campaign for president nor did he seek the office. According to what I have read, he was very dignified and a true leader.

His father died when he was age 11 leaving him to support his mother and siblings. His stepbrothers were sent to England for advanced instruction while he was limited to an elementary education. Family members died of swamp fever, epilepsy and small pox when he was quite young. At 17 he established his own surveying company and proved himself as a thorough, careful person. As a boy, he deliberately copied 110 "Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation" and thereafter conducted himself in compliance with these dictates. "Undertake not what you cannot Perform but be Careful to keep your promise," he wrote. "Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for Ďtis better to be alone than in bad Company."

George Washington set high standards and lived up to them. He believed in personal discipline and integrity and considered it his duty to set a precedent of impeccable character as the United States' first elected leader. People have looked up to him. Abraham Lincolnís favorite book was a biography of George Washington. Simon Bolivar, the liberator of Latin America, admired him and wore a medal of George Washington when in public.

I wish we had a candidate like George.

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