Sunday, February 17, 2013

President's Day

We used to celebrate Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays separately. I really liked that, especially when I worked at the bank because we had both days off. Now the powers that decide these things have declared that we must group all the presidents into one day. Oh well!
I have never met a president, but I have a connection to a couple and I've visited the homes of others. Let's start at the beginning.
 I've been to George Washington's home at Mount Vernon. It's a lovely place and I can imagine George and Martha being happy there working in their gardens.
Rob and I have also been to Natural Bridge in Virginia where Washington worked as a surveyor. There's a little sign high up on the mountain showing where he was standing.
We've visited his monument in Washington, DC......
and his monument in Baltimore Maryland.
We have been to Jefferson's home at Monticello.
Why would anyone want to leave that gorgeous place to fight with politicians every day and carry the burden of being President? We spent a whole day touring Monticello.
Then there is my favorite President, Lincoln. I've always been fascinated with Lincoln and I was fortunate to live where I had access to many places involved with Lincoln and the Civil War.
We've toured many battle sites and cemeteries. We have visited Gettysburg many times and I feel the weight of history every time I go there. I've had the privilege of standing where Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Gettysburg, go. You won't regret it. Driving down the road, seeing the monuments in the pastures and the signs on houses indicating that they were field hospitals, makes you feel very humble.
I'm a lifetime member of the Surratt Society and have visited the Mary Surratt House several times. Rob and I took the 10 hour John Wilkes Booth Escape Tour sponsored by the Surratt Society and it was one of the best history lessons I've ever had. Mary Surratt was hanged as a conspirator in the assassination of Lincoln.
Just down the road from Mary Surratt's house is the home of Dr Mudd.

 In Maryland we lived only a few miles from Tudor Hall, the family home of John Wilkes Booth. Rob and I were there a couple of times for events.
I haven't yet visited Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois. We have been to Ford's Theater and the Petersen House across the street  where he died.
Even though I've seen pictures of the Lincoln Memorial hundreds of times, I was unprepared for how impressive and massive and silent it is.
I also toured The Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson in Nashville, Tennessee.
Then there are the personal connections. I am related to John Adams....

and his son John Quincy Adams thru my maternal grandmother making me a cousin of two Presidents.
I am also related by marriage to James Madison. My Grandmother, the same one, is related to Dolly Madison, thus my claim to her husband James. 
 So there you have the reasons why I am celebrating President's Day today. Do you have a favorite President?


SissySees said...

What a lovely, personal post, Sue. I have never gotten any of the president-like holidays (except for Lee-Jackson Day, now Lee-Jackson-King Day... if that counts?), but I was sad when they combined Washington and Lincoln's days. Both were arguably milestone presidents, and I'd add Jefferson to that short list, although I might be biased.

Jefferson is my favorite president, just because I live and work within sight of Monticello and grew up in a church he had built. I own land that James Monroe MIGHT have originally been deeded, but other than conversation's sake, that has little impact on me.

I'm possibly related to Harrison, on my father's side. My family tree is oddly bare in that spot, but a friend's husband is indeed closely related and has documentation that suggests we are cousins of sorts. Likewise, there's a family legend on my maternal grandmother's side that we are related to Lee. Not a president, but I find it hard to discuss Lincoln without mentioning Lee.

gMarie said...

I don't have a favorite. But my grandma traced our family history back to Abigail Adams - hence I'm related to them too! Therefore, we are related, right? Abbigail Jane is also named after that lady.

What a lovely post filled with lots of history. I too was amazed by the Lincoln Memorial when we went to DC last year.

Ruby said...

Very cool postie,Ma thinks it was cool, I think it needed some Presidential doggies, butts, I'm a bit biased. BOL
Ma isn't related to any Presidents, butts she does have ALOT of outlaws in her family tree (Gee, that explains ALOT!).
My favorite President is JFK. I know, I know, that's too easy, butts he is. He was Irish Catholic, and so am I (well, VERY lapsed Catholic, and half Irish...)
and, let's just say that he was highly regarded in Ma's house.
Happy President's Day!!

scotsmad said...

Love Monticello and all Jefferson's innovations.

With a father who was a Civil War buff, I grew up with Lincoln, Lee, Grant....etc. Have visited many battle grounds. One fought on my maternal grandmother's property...Ball's Bluff.

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

Enjoy your holiday.

Mitch and Molly said...

What a fabulous post! We need to have our dad come and read it too! He is a HUGE George Washington fan!
Happy President's Day, Sue!

Love ya lots,
Mitch and Molly

Nichole said...

Fun post! Happy Prez Day!

Casey said...

Wow, I learned so much from your post! I don't have a favorite President yet. My favorite will be the first one to have a First BOXER!

Marjie said...

I was once told that we are somehow related to John Quincy Adams, but I was 13 and unable to ask the right questions to fill in the blanks. So that might just make us very distant relatives, too! And we all have to love George Washington, because he did to much to get us started. And somehow, when he was 4, my youngest son informed me that his favorite president was Thomas Jefferson, because he doubled the size of the country. Where did he hear that? Amazing. And I've always been sad that they combined Washington's and Lincoln's birthdays. It was more meaningful when both were celebrated.

Life with Wrigs said...

What an interesting post! I have several favorite presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. I'm from Illinois, and we visited Lincoln's home and other historic sites when I was growing up.

Susan and Wrigs