By Dan Cirucci
February once belonged to Washington and Lincoln and it was wonderful.
I remember in elementary school we would cut out silhouettes of Lincoln and Washington and they would be placed on school windows with red hearts between them.
Banks, business districts and government offices displayed photos of these two revered presidents. February 12 and 22 were hugely observed holidays.
The whole nation celebrated these great men.
Stores sold George Washington paper hatchets with bags of candy cherries attached or hidden in the cardboard “blade” of the hatchet. Chocolate covered cherries and cherry tree motifs were also popular.
No one doubted that the cherry tree story was true.
Paper Lincoln top hats were also sold at stores or in some cases made by kids from construction paper. Remember construction paper?
Did Lincoln live in a log cabin and read by the light of the fireplace? Of course he did! Was he self-educated? Of course he was!
Bookstores sold children’s books telling tales of Washington and Lincoln. Nobody knew from “President’s Day.”
It was Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday and they were observed on the appropriate days. It didn’t matter what day of the week they happened to fall on.
It was all just wonderful. It gave us great pride in our country. It strengthened us. It gave us hope and the fortitude and optimism to carry on in their honor.
And we also embraced this: a shared heritage we could all be proud of. This was our American heritage and you better believe it welcomed no small amount of nationalism. Yes, nationalism in the very best sense of the word. This was a well-grounded, sensible nationalism that wisely reminded us of what we had in common – our shared language, culture and treasured values.
And now it’s almost all gone.
This is why we must continue to fight for what’s best within us and battle to uphold American exceptionalism, American pride and yes, American nationalism!
It’s not too late, America.
And President’s Day is the perfect time to rejoin the fight!
Dan Cirucci, the founder and editor-in chief of the Dan Cirucci Blog (http://dancirucci.blogspot.com/), is one of the most widely honored public relations professionals in his field and a public relations consultant to numerous organizations and individuals.