Washington was a Firefighter
I never liked this Presidents' Day idea I always thought it was lame. There are presidents who deserve to have their own day, a day when we reflect on their legacy and their contributions to our nation. Men like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, JFK, and many others but to lump them all together is probably politically correct although highly disingenuous.
Today's George Washington's birthday and if you look at the life of this the first president of the United States this indispensable man, it is clear that he was a firefighter. As we look around us today we see the Middle East in flames and we wonder what direction that part of the world will take. We look at our own situation here in the United States and we find the world's greatest most innovative and creative nation on the verge of bankruptcy. And our nation is looking for today's indispensable man, today's leader today's man of integrity, character and morality
Often times people think that we don't have men like Washington in politics because of the nature of today's politics. Many people think that the politics of today is more vitriolic but they would be woefully incorrect. Even back in the days of George Washington politics was a dirty nasty business and if you want to get involved in it you better be ready to get your nose bloodied and your reputation sullied. It's no small wonder then that the word politics is Latin in origin poly meaning many and ticks are tiny bloodsucking parasites. George Washington approached politics like a firefighter would, head on bluntly and with the best interests of his community always first and foremost, even when it meant to his own disadvantage.
But let me tell you why I think George Washington was a great firefighter. First and foremost it is primarily because he lived a life of true service. There are a lot of things that many people don't know about George Washington first of all he lost his dad at age 11 so he was not raised a wealthy man and he and his mom always had a fairly contentious relationship. So George Washington had to be responsible for his own education, for trying to find role models that he could emulate in the absence of his dad and for stedfastly remaining respectful, caring and loving to his mom with whom he often found himself at odds. He did all those things with dignity and honesty, George Washington did not let disagreements prohibit him from enjoying others company or counsel.
For example as a young man George Washington wanted to join the British Navy his mother refused to allow him to join and although he was greatly disappointed he never showed her any disrespect and he obeyed her wishes. George never received any formal education although he did study on his own geography, climatology astronomy history and he read many of the classics one of his favorite books was Joseph Addison's the Tragedy of Cato from which he developed his deep commitment to the principles of republican government. That does not mean Republican and Democrat as in parties it means the republican as an our form of representative government. George always complained about his "defective education".
George Washington loved to dance a lot of people never knew that about George Washington but he would dance with any gal he could at every opportunity he could get sound like anybody you know? Tell me what firefighter doesn't love to get out on the dance floor regardless of whether or not you have two left feet or wouldn't know how to keep beat if someone put a clock in your hands and I'll show you someone who just thinks they're a firefighter. Firefighters dance firefighters celebrate life at every opportunity they can George Washington would've joined the FOOLS.
George Washington served in the French Indian wars with distinction and that was where he learned most of his military education which would serve him well in the future. So just like a good firefighter George learned his trade mainly on the job and with hands-on experience. He also proved himself to be exceptionally brave, and at one point in his life an Indian chief declared that he could not be killed in battle lucky for the United States this turned out to be true.
Washington was a natural born leader just as every firefighter is a leader. Washington found himself the youngest commander in chief of Virginia's military defense forces, where he performed admirably. It's interesting that when he heard the news of him being selected as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army he found the news to be bittersweet and he said the following when he accepted the position "But lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room at this day I declare, with the utmost sincerity, that I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with." George Washington was an extremely humble man. Every decent fire officer I have ever met were extremely humble people.
By every account there is almost unanimous agreement that during the eight-year struggle for independence from England there was one indispensable man and that was George Washington. George Washington never left his troops, every hardship they had to endure he endured. He never took a salary he asked only that his expenses be covered. Every battle he was in he was at the front of that battle George Washington was first in and last out. George Washington gave us the example of leading by example and what true service means. George Washington did not become our commander-in-chief in order to improve his station in life or his personal finances he did it to serve his nation in a time of need. Just as every firefighter I've ever met would gladly go without a salary if they needed to, to support their communities. As long as their community agreed to support their family and their expenses were met.
Washington also reluctantly accepted the responsibility of presiding over the first Continental Congress. Without his leadership and guidance it is doubtful that our Constitution would have had been completed by 1789. During that time is only one instance in which he inserted his opinion verbally into the arguments of the day other than that he worked in the background to help formulate the Constitution. Good fire officers don't need to give orders they just need to set an example and others will follow.
In regards to the presidency Washington is our only Pres. who was unanimously elected by the Electoral College. Washington was an extremely devout man and often prayed in public and was the man responsible for the words so help me God at the end of the oath of office of the presidency of the United States. A tradition which is continued today. Washington believed that divine Providence was the reason that America had succeeded in the war against England.
Washington held office for eight years and then steped down. After the Revolutionary war his troops wanted him to assume the title of King something which made him almost ill just to think about. Washington knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that no man has any divine right to rule over any other man. Washington also knew that service should be service. Washington never accepted a salary as President of the United States or is commander-in-chief of the United States Army. Washington knew that after eight years that was enough that he should step down, perhaps that should be the limit for all politicians eight years. Washington also did not believe in political parties he thought that political parties would be the destructive to our republic representative form of government.
Washington in my opinion was a great firefighter because he had character, he had tremendous humility and understood that there were problems bigger than him and that there were things to which he would always struggle to meet the challenge of. Washington my opinion was a great firefighter because he led by example, because he was a decent man who avoided profanity, he was a religious man who is not ashamed of his religiosity. Washington my opinion was a great firefighter because he saw the good in all men and listened to all opinions and then made his own decisions.
Yeah I really hate this Presidents' Day thing it is truly lame. We need to celebrate each and every one of these men as the individuals they were, we need to recognize the greatness they embodied and the contributions they gave to us. Washington was my favorite and I will always be grateful that he was there for our nation when we needed him.