Monday, February 21, 2011
February 21, 2011
When I was in grade school (yes, that was years and years ago) Washington's Birthday was a holiday. So was Abraham Lincoln's, unless your school was in the South. Well, it made sense. Washington started us; Lincoln led us through a bitter Civil War.
Now we have Presidents' Day. So let's take a moment to remember, and honor, John Tyler and Millard Fillmore, and....come on, who am I kidding? Should we have a Rutherford B. Hayes day? Or one for Chester A. Arthur? Why?
You could make a case for some of them, of course. Woodrow Wilson, maybe; he led us through World War I. Or Franklin Roosevelt, who led us through WWII and the Great Depression.
My favorite of the ones I've met would be Harry Truman, who as an ex-president used to visit Washington once or twice a year, always stayed at the same hotel and went for a walk every morning, accompanied by a gaggle of us reporters. Truman was a president who faced some big calls--drop the first atomic bomb ever, on the Japanese? Integrate America's armed forces? He did, you know. On those walks someone would always ask Truman about his nickname, "Give 'em hell Harry." And Truman would always answer, "I never gave anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."
Maybe what we need is a Some Presidents Day. Pick a favorite. I'll take Truman. Last one up gets, say, James Buchanan.