Abe, George lumped together in Presidents’ Day

Abe, George lumped together in Presidents' Day By Bob Karolevitz I'll never forgive Congress for what it did to Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

For me, February was always a special month before our lawmeddlers lumped Abe and George together with such stalwarts as Millard Fillmore, Gerald Ford and John Tyler in something they called Presidents' Day.

It may be politically correct, but I think it was a giant cop-out. In arithmetic terms, it's like reducing them to the least common denominator.

I suppose my feelings for Feb. 12 and 22 started w-a-a-y back in grade school days when we cut out profiles of the Great Rail-Splitter and tiny hatchets to commemorate young George's date with the cherry tree.

Even if they stretched historical fact a bit, we marveled at stories about Honest Abe writing on the back of a shovel with charcoal and George throwing his dollar across the Potomac. (A dollar went farther in those days, incidentally.)

Ours was the age of heroes before we started chipping away at the pedestals we put them on. Now it seems we'd rather emphasize feet of clay than untarnished virtue.

It's a good thing Gutzon Borglum carved Mount Rushmore when he did or today we'd probably have the Simpsons up there!

To be fair, I don't think George should have stood up in the boat when he and his men crossed the Delaware, but they did catch the British napping. And Abe was too considerate of his do-nothing generals before he got his dander up and put Ulysses S. Grant in charge.

Maybe it's because of our early school-day exposure, but Phyllis and I have visited many of the historic sites associated with Lincoln and Washington.

We toured their respective birthplaces at Sinking Spring Farm at Hodgenville, KY, and at Pope's Creek in Westmoreland County, VA. We were at Gettysburg where Lincoln delivered his immortal address, and more than once we've strolled the grounds at Mount Vernon.

We even took pictures of the watermelon memorial at Lincoln, IL, where Abe, then a young attorney, christened the new town with melon juice after he had done the legal work to create it.

We attended a performance in Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., still pretty much like it was when Lincoln was shot there, and we paid a respectful visit at his tomb in Springfield, IL. We've done the same thing at Washington's unpretentious burial place at Mount Vernon.

Needless to say, we've had more than a casual interest in the lives of two of our foremost presidents. That's why February hasn't been quite the same since the birthdays of Abe and George have been down-graded on our calendar.

I don't particularly like cherry pie, but I hope Phyllis bakes one on the 22nd. And I'd have split a log on the 12th if the sledge hammer hadn't been so heavy.

After all, it's the least I could do to honor the men we no longer commemorate with national holidays which the Post Office Department has traded two for one.

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