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Time to Celebrate or Go Shopping?

What strange times do we live in where President’s Day means both?

For the traditionalists, Monday, February 21st marks President’s Day. It’s the day we originally celebrate our first President, George Washington, and later our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. For the more modern of folks, it’s a Monday off from work and banking; a day we see silly-looking folks dressed up as former Presidents hawking cars, washing machines, and furniture.

As for myself, the CEO of Prosperity Financial Group, and your Fiduciary Financial Advisory Team in San Ramon–I’m a bit more of a traditionalist.

I can still remember looking at a little American flag on our kitchen table when I was a young boy. We were “forced” to say The Pledge of Allegiance to that little flag, as my mother truly appreciated being an immigrant and refugee from WWII. This was always followed by singing “Look for the Label”, a union song for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, of which she was a member.

The History Behind President’s Day

As for President’s Day, let’s look more into the history behind the holiday.

an American flag flying in front of classic architecture

Originally, this day was set aside to honor George Washington. He led the Continental Army to defeat the British in the Revolutionary War, the war establishing the United States. He presided over the Constitutional Congress developing our nation’s Constitution before being elected our first President.

What’s even more amazing than our first President’s accomplishments is that he could have been our first king.

Instead, he chose to be President and leave after two terms. This set the president for 150 years. He was also President during the time of slavery, owned slaves, and fathered a child from one of his slaves. Upon his death, all his slaves at Mount Vernon were given full liberty to be freemen (and women).

As for Abraham Lincoln, he presided over the Civil War to end slavery and keep our Republic as one entity. This was considered one of the most difficult times in American History. He was shot shortly after the war ended. President Lincoln is also credited with passing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, declaringall persons held as slaves within any States, or designated part of the State, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Our history would have been very different if the North had lost the war or Lincoln had remained alive as President for many years.

In 1971, President Nixon issued a proclamation naming the holiday President’s Day. He called it “the first such three-day holiday set aside to honor all presidents, even myself.” Interesting that in this politically charged and polarized world, we may unknowingly or unwittingly be honoring certain Presidents we love or don’t care for. If anything, it gives us an opportunity to give thanks and show respect for those who have come before us.

On behalf of your Team at Prosperity Financial Group, I wish you and your family a terrific President’s Day. I hope you take a few minutes to honor how fortunate we are to live in the United States, an imperfect and incredible Republic.

Happy Presidents Day and God Bless America,

Elliot Kallen


Expert Insights

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