Today is President’s Day in the U.S. Originally established in 1885 as a recognition of George Washington’s birthday (February 22nd), it was later expanded to include Abraham Lincoln and all other U.S. presidents.
Some of the words of these leaders have stood the test of time. For example from Abraham Lincoln:
- Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
- And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
- My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.
and these from George Washington:
- My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.
- 99% of failures come from people who make excuses.
- In politics as in philosophy, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy
- “On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” ―Thomas Jefferson
- “It’s easier to do a job right, than to explain why you didn’t.” ― Martin Van Buren
- “There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are. They have the gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity. It really matters very little whether they are behind the wheel of a truck or running a business or bringing up a family. They teach the truth by living it.”―James Garfield
- “Never waste a minute thinking about people you don’t like.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower
- “Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.” ― Ronald Reagan
There have been some incredible orators who held the office of president. Some of the above phrases have a brilliant cadence to them. Others are simple and yet still poignant. As you think about these words, think about your own writing. Is there a better turn of the phrase you can use? Is there a way to smooth your prose so it isn’t clunky (like using the word “clunky” in a sentence!). Can you wait a few moments before you spill your thoughts on the screen so that they may be seasoned with a measure of grace. Who knows maybe your words will touch someone’s heart today and bring light into our dark world.
Presidential trivia: Did you know that Ulysses S. Grant’s autobiography had a rather famous publisher? Published shortly after his death in 1885 (he finished the work days before he passed away) the two volume work sold 350,000 copies. His publisher? Mark Twain. Many feel it is the greatest presidential memoir ever written.
[By the way, this is not a post about politics nor is this blog a place to voice political opinions. Please keep to the topic of writing and not the politics of your country of residence or elsewhere. Thanks!]