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On this day in 1758, the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe is born in Virginia. Monroe was the first United States Senator to be elected President.

He was a contemporary of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. As such, he was the last American revolutionary to become president. What follows are a few remarks from both inaugural addresses of James Monroe, in 1817 and 1821 respectively.

Fervent Prayers

1817

“If we persevere in the career in which we have advanced so far and in the path already traced, we can not fail, under the favor of a gracious Providence, to attain the high destiny which seems to await us.”

“Relying on the aid to be derived from the other departments of the Government, I enter on the trust to which I have been called by the suffrages of my fellow-citizens with my fervent prayers to the Almighty that He will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection which He has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor.”

1821

“it is obvious that other powerful causes, indicating the great strength and stability of our Union, have essentially contributed to draw you together. That these powerful causes exist, and that they are permanent, is my fixed opinion; that they may produce a like accord in all questions touching, however remotely, the liberty, prosperity, and happiness of our country will always be the object of my most fervent prayers to the Supreme Author of All Good.”

Firm Reliance

“With full confidence in the continuance of that candor and generous indulgence from my fellow-citizens at large which I have heretofore experienced, and with a firm reliance on the protection of Almighty God, I shall forthwith commence the duties of the high trust to which you have called me.”

James Monroe White House portrait 1819

 

Ronald Reagan shot

On this day in 1981, in an assassination attempt, John Hinckley Jr. shoots President Ronald Reagan in the left lung as the President left the Washington Hilton hotel. The bullet narrowly misses his heart. Still, the President walks in to George Washington University Hospital under his own power.

Less than two weeks later on April 11, the resilient Reagan returned to the White House. He concluded his diary entry for that day with this powerful statement:

“Whatever happens now I owe my life to God and will try to serve him in every way I can.”

Equally Beloved

Here’s an earlier, similarly powerful portion of that same diary entry:

“Getting shot hurts. Still my fear was growing because no matter how hard I tried to breathe it seemed I was getting less & less air. I focused on that tiled ceiling and prayed. But I realized I couldn’t ask for God’s help while at the same time I felt hatred for the mixed up young man who had shot me. Isn’t that the meaning of the lost sheep? We are all God’s children & therefore equally beloved by him. I began to pray for his soul and that he would find his way back to the fold.”

President Ronald Reagan shot

 

Ike American flag Dwight D. Eisenhower

On this day in 1969, Dwight D. Eisenhower , a highly regarded general of World War II and the 34th president of the United States dies at the age of 78, in Washington, D.C.

First, here are two excerpts from his remarks for the American Legion “Back-to-God” program:

“The Founding Fathers… produced the timeless documents upon which the Nation is founded and has grown great. They, recognizing God as the author of individual rights, declared that the purpose of Government is to secure those rights.”

“Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first—and most basic—expression of Americanism. Thus, the Founding Fathers of America saw it, and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be.”

Eisenhower made “In God We Trust” our nation’s official motto. One can find an early iteration of this phrase in Francis Scott Key’s “Star-Spangled Banner,” which became Our national anthem.

Under God

Eisenhower had the words “under God” inserted in to the pledge of allegiance. On Flag Day, June 14, 1954 when he signed the bill to include the words “under God” in the pledge, he said:

“In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America’s heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource in peace and war.”

Then and now, that’s why we like Ike.

Like Ike Dwight D. Eisenhower

Truman Federal Council of Churches

On this day in 1949, President Harry S. Truman signs a U.S. resolution authorizing $16 million in aid for Palestinian refugees who were displaced as a result of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.

This situation was, and still is, an exceedingly volatile and complex. Our Lost Founding has no delusions of any ability to provide an adequate summary of the conflict here. Pro- and anti-Zionist groups, Palestinian refugees, Arab oil, and the state of Israel are the major sources of on-going conflict in the Middle East.

Truman had the unenviable task of reconciling safety for the Jews and good relations with Arab states.

Men and Nations

Truman’s address to the Federal Council of Churches on March 6, 1946 are as pertinent today as they were then. It applies to the current state of affairs in the Middle East and associated terror groups. We can also apply it to the current debate surrounding religious liberties in Our own country:

“Now that we have preserved our freedom of conscience and religion, our right to live by a decent moral and spiritual code of our own choosing, let us make full use of that freedom. Let us make use of it to save a world which is beset by so many threats of new conflicts, new terror, and new destruction.”

“If men and nations would but live by the precepts of the ancient prophets and the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, problems which now seem so difficult would soon disappear.”

Harry S. Truman Federal Council of Churches

 

President James Madison

On this day in 1751, James Madison is born in Conway, Virginia.

He was a key drafter of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, as well the recorder of the Constitutional Convention. Accordingly, Madison is known as the “Father of the Constitution.”
Furthermore, he was a key author of the Federalist Papers. Finally, Madison served two terms as the fourth President of the United States, from 1809 to 1817.

For all these towering achievements, James Madison stood at just 5′4″. I like him even more.

Divine Destiny

Here are portions of his Proclamation 20 – Recommending a Day of Public Thanksgiving for Peace from March 4, 1815:

“No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events and of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States.”

“And to the same Divine Author of Every Good and Perfect Gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land.”

James Madison

George Washington Invisible hand shirt zoom

On this day in 1732, George Washington, the first President of the United States, is born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Washington’s Birthday is now generally known as Presidents Day. In fact, it was the first federal holiday to honor an American president, and was originally established in 1885.

Presidents Day was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday until January 1, 1971. Then, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act shifted it to the third Monday in February.

As a result, it can occur the 15th through the 21st inclusive, but not on Washington’s actual birthday.

Even so, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government and is although an occasion to remember all presidents.

As Our first President, and the “Father of Our Country,” Washington set many precedents for those who would follow him.

“A nation” and its “People”

Something we all would do well to remember is something Washington said in his first inaugural address:
“[T]he propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained…”

Also from that address, is the quote that inspired Our George Washington “Invisible Hand” t-shirt:
“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the People of the United States.

George Washington's Birthday

John Adams White House blessing Presidents' Day

George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd is now generally known as Presidents’ Day. In fact, it was the first federal holiday to honor an American president, and was originally established in 1885.

Presidents Day was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday until January 1, 1971. Then, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act shifted it to the third Monday in February.

As a result, it can occur the 15th through the 21st inclusive, but not on Washington’s actual birthday.

Even so, the federal government still officially recognizes Presidents’ Day as “Washington’s Birthday,” though it is certainly an occasion to remember all U.S. presidents.

“Heaven” and “this House”

John Adams, our second president, and the first to inhabit the President’s House (known as the White House since 1901),  wrote this in a letter to his beloved wife Abigail, as seen below carved in to the stone fireplace of the White House State Dining Room:

“I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.”

We would do well to do the same.

 

Presidents' Day

William Henry Harrison Inauguration

On this day in 1773, the ninth President of the United States, William Henry Harrison is born in Virginia.

He was the last president born as a British subject and the first president to die in office.

In 1841, he began the shortest presidential term ever served, which lasted just 32 days.

Power and the Beneficent Creator

William Henry Harrison also has the record for the longest inaugural address. It lasted one hour and 45 minutes, on that cold, snowy morning of March 4th, 1841.

The address, though not historically revered, contains this essential truth:
“We admit of no government by divine right, believing that so far as power is concerned the Beneficent Creator has made no distinction amongst men; that all are upon an equality, and that the only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed. The Constitution of the United States is the instrument containing this grant of power to the several departments composing the Government.”

 

William Henry Harrison Inauguration

Official Portrait of President Reagan

On this day in 1911, Ronald Reagan, the 33rd Governor of California and the 40th President of the United States is born in Tampico, Illinois.

So, to recognize his birthday, here are three of Our posts featuring profound words from “The Great Communicator”:

http://ourlostfounding.com/i-owe-my-life-to-god/

http://ourlostfounding.com/if-we-ever-forget/

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

Dwight Eisenhower farewell

On this day in 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, looking forward to becoming a private citizen, gives his Farewell Address to the nation.

So, here are a couple excerpts from the opening and closing of his address:

“Three days from now, after a half century of service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.

Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

You and I – my fellow citizens – need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will (one day) reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations’ great goals.

America’s Aspiration

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America’s prayerful and continuing aspiration:

We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.”

A timeless aspiration for all Americans.

Dwight D. Eisenhower farewell

George Washington Invisible Hand t-shirt

On this day in 1789, George Washington wins America’s first presidential election and would be sworn in on April 30.

Of course, Our first president is known as the Father of Our Country. Furthermore, he is remembered as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.

First Official Act

In his April 30 Inaugural Address, Washington acknowledged his “anxieties” and “conflict of emotions.”
Then, he made his “first official Act” as President of the United States:

“Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station; it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves…”

A few sentences later came the quote that inspired Our George Washington “Invisible Hand” t-shirt:

“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the People of the United States.”

George Washington Invisible Hand t-shirt First Fervent Act