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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

George Washington dying

On this day in 1799, George Washington, the first president and “father of our country” dies at Mount Vernon. He was sixty-seven years old.

Famously, Henry Lee eulogized Washington:

“To the memory of the Man, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

He had just retired two years earlier, after forty-five years of service to his country.

Some of his last words were were: “Doctor, I die hard; but I am not afraid to go[.]”

Tokens

He said this in his heartfelt Farewell Address in 1796:

“[T]he deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me… I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; that, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.

The following quote from his Inaugural Address in 1789 George Washington inspired Our George Washington “Invisible Hand” 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.”

He went on, “Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

George Washington dying

 

Dewey Defeats Harry Truman

On this day in 1948, incumbent Harry S. Truman defeats challenger Thomas E. Dewey in the greatest upset in presidential election history.

This was despite the premature assertion of an early edition of the Chicago Tribune with the banner headline “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.”
(Yes, that’s Harry Truman holding that newspaper.)

Dewey Defeats Harry Truman

Go and Vote…

On Election Eve, concluding his Whistle Stop Train Tour, President Truman spoke from his home in Independence, Missouri. His remarks were carried on a nationwide radio broadcast, and here are a few of them:

“I believe with all my heart and soul that Almighty God has intended the United States of America to lead the world to peace. . .. We failed to meet our obligation. . ..

And now, my fellow citizens, the future welfare of our country is in your hands. I have told you the truth as God has given me wisdom to see the truth.

Go to the polls tomorrow and vote your convictions, your hopes, and your faith — your faith in the future of a nation that under God can lead the world to freedom and to peace.”

Meanwhile, lets us bear in mind what Samuel Adams said about voting:

 

Ike American flag Dwight D. Eisenhower

On this day in 1890, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, is born in Texas.

“Ike,” as he was affectionately called, had the words “under God” inserted in to the pledge of allegiance, and Ike made “In God We Trust” our nation’s official motto.

Those are a few reasons why “I like Ike.”

Appropriate Address

Now, “[m]y friends, before I begin the expression of those thoughts that I deem appropriate to this moment, would you permit me the privilege of uttering a little private prayer of my own. And I ask that you bow your heads.”

That’s how Eishenhower began his inaugural address on January 20, 1953.

His prayer proves pertinent, even today:

“Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby, and by the laws of this land. Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people regardless of station, race or calling.

May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concepts of our Constitution, hold to differing political faiths; so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy glory. Amen.”

Then, having concluded his prayer, and getting further in to his address, he asked a question that may have no earthly answer:

“In the swift rush of great events, we find ourselves groping to know the full sense and meaning of these times in which we live. In our quest of understanding, we beseech God’s guidance. We summon all our knowledge of the past and we scan all signs of the future. We bring all our wit and all our will to meet the question:

How far have we come in man’s long pilgrimage from darkness toward the light? Are we nearing the light–a day of freedom and of peace for all mankind? Or are the shadows of another night closing in upon us?”

At such a time…

Next, he calls for a renewal of faith. That’s a call each generation needs to answer:

“At such a time in history, we who are free must proclaim anew our faith. This faith is the abiding creed of our fathers. It is our faith in the deathless dignity of man, governed by eternal moral and natural laws.

This faith defines our full view of life. It establishes, beyond debate, those gifts of the Creator that are man’s inalienable rights, and that make all men equal in His sight.”

Perhaps Our time in history isn’t much different.

Ike American flag
(Be sure to “Unscroll…” more about Ike by searching Our other posts.)

Harry Truman televised

On this day in 1947, President Harry Truman delivers the first ever televised presidential address from the White House.

At the time, television was in its infancy and the number of Americans with television sets in their home was only in the thousands. President Truman sought the support of the American people for a food conservation program proposed by the Citizens Food Committee. The program offered help to European nations where “crops have suffered so badly from droughts, floods, and cold from droughts, floods, and cold” in the wake of World War II.

Truman said “Our self-denial will serve us well in the years to come.”

Then, here’s how he concluded the address:

“Hungry people in other countries look to the United States for help. I know that they will be strengthened and encouraged by this evidence of our friendship.

I know that they will be waiting with hope in their hearts and a fervent prayer on their lips for the response of our people to this program.

We must not fail them.”

Of course, in 1952 it was President Harry Truman who issued a Presidential Proclamation for a National Day of Prayer:

“I… do hereby proclaim… a National Day of Prayer, on which all of us, in our churches, in our homes, and in our hearts, may beseech God to grant us wisdom to know the course which we should follow, and strength and patience to pursue that course steadfastly. May we also give thanks to Him for His constant watchfulness over us in every hour of national prosperity and national peril.”

We must not fail to pray.

After all, fasting and prayer go hand-in-hand.

Harry Truman televised

Battle of Yorktown surrender

On this day in 1781, General George Washington leads the final siege in the American colonies, known as the Battle of Yorktown.

It was perhaps the most important battle of the American Revolutionary War. In fact, it proved to be the final land battle, ending fighting in the colonies and in North America.

On October 17, following three weeks of non-stop, day-and-night bombardment, Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington.

Battle of Yorktown surrender

As a result of the defeat, the British government began to negotiate an end to the war. Then, the Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783.

Finally, after eight long years of war, the United States was a free and independent nation.

“The Invisible Hand”

Sure, it’s plain to see that General Washington led a sizable combined force of Continental and French troops. Yes, he had the aid of key figures such as Alexander Hamilton, Rochambeau, de Grasse, Lafayette, and others.

Still, President Washington made his view perfectly clear in his Inaugural Address in 1789 that:
“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.”

He went on: “Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

Battle of Yorktown

Get your shirt, here:

9/11 and 9/12

On this day, September 12, that is 9/12, in 1814, the Battle of Baltimore begins.

The defense of Fort McHenry during heavy bombardment by the Royal Navy actually began the following day and inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the poem, aptly titled, “Defence of Fort McHenry.” Of course, the poem became the lyrics for “The Star-Spangled Banner” our national anthem.

Rebuild on a solid foundation

So, today is September 12, or 9/12. As a nation, we’ve reflected on 9/11 for 19 years, and today we are faced with significant, on-going domestic and foreign threats and challenges to our republic.

Here are a few excerpts from Billy Graham’s remarks given at the National Cathedral on September 14, 2001:

[T]oday we come together in this service to confess our need of God. We’ve always needed God from the very beginning of this nation. But today we need Him especially. We’re involved in a new kind of warfare. And we need the help of the Spirit of God.

The lesson of this event is not only about the mystery of iniquity and evil, but, second, it’s a lesson about our need for each other.

A tragedy like this could have torn our country apart, but instead it has united us. 

This week we watched in horror as planes crashed into the steel and glass of the World Trade Center. Those majestic towers, built on solid foundations, were examples of prosperity and creativity. When damaged, those buildings plummeted to the ground, imploding in upon themselves. Yet, underneath the debris, is a foundation that was not destroyed. Therein lies the truth of that hymn, “How Firm a Foundation.”

Yes, our nation has been attacked, buildings destroyed, lives lost. But now we have a choice: whether to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people and a nation; or to choose to become stronger through all of this struggle, to rebuild on a solid foundation.

And I believe that we are starting to rebuild on that foundation. That foundation is our trust in God. And in that faith, we have the strength to endure something as difficult and as horrendous as what we have experienced this week.

May God bless you all.”

 

9/11

 

Star-Spangled Banner

In these United States, September 11 is proclaimed Patriot Day, and is observed as the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

The bill to designate September 11 of each year as Patriot Day was introduced on October 25, 2001 with 22 co-sponsors: eleven Democrats and eleven Republicans.

Here are portions of this year’s Proclamation on Patriot Day, 2020:

“In 2001, our Nation, united under God, made an unbreakable promise never to forget the nearly 3,000 innocent Americans who were senselessly killed on September 11.  On this sacred day — Patriot Day — we solemnly honor that commitment.

To fulfill our collective promise never to forget, we impart the memory of that fateful day to our children and grandchildren.  The smoke that rose from the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the Pennsylvania field carried away the souls of innocent Americans.  As we recall the images of our American Flag raised from the ashes of Ground Zero and the Pentagon, we are reminded that good triumphs over evil.  We recommit ourselves to fortifying our cherished American values so that future generations will know in their souls that the United States is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This Patriot Day, we commemorate the lives of those who perished on September 11, 2001, we pray for the families who carry on their legacies, and we honor the unmatched bravery of our Nation’s first responders.  We also commend those who, in the days and years following the attack, answered the call to serve our country and continue to risk their lives in defense of the matchless blessings of freedom.”

For posterity, let US all stand United as Patriots, on this, and every day, as have the American Patriots of previous generations. Now, as always:

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”

Star-Spangled Banner

Richard Nixon Gerald Ford

On this day in 1974, President Gerald Ford grants a pardon to former President Richard Nixon for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.

Facing impeachment and removal from office, President Nixon resigned on August 8th, exactly one month prior to Ford’s “full, free and absolute” pardon.

At that time, Ford’s merciful decision was widely condemned, and likely cost him the 1976 election against opponent Jimmy Carter.

Even so, Ford received the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation Profile in Courage Award in 2001 for his decision to “write the end” to “an American tragedy.”

Forgiveness, from a personal to a national scale, is indeed courageous.

“Justice Without Mercy”

It seems Gerald Ford had the bigger picture in mind, as you will see in Our previous posts:

 

Richard Nixon Gerald Ford Pardon

 

William McKinley Assassination

On this day in 1901, President William McKinley is mortally wounded by two gunshots at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, New York. A 28-year-old anarchist fired the shots.

Despite an apparent recovery following emergency surgery, the president succumbed to gangrene and subsequent blood poisoning. William McKinley died eight days after the shooting, making him the third U.S. president assassinated.

During those eight days, McKinley forgave his shooter and showed great concern for his wife and the public.

“God’s Way”

What follows are a few quotes from William McKinley that further illustrate his character. First, these two excerpts are from his First Inaugural Address on March 4th, 1897:

“I assume the arduous and responsible duties of President of the United States, relying upon the support of my countrymen and invoking the guidance of Almighty God. Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers, who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trial, and who will not forsake us so long as we obey His commandments and walk humbly in His footsteps.

I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. This is the obligation I have reverently taken before the Lord Most High. To keep it will be my single purpose, my constant prayer; and I shall confidently rely upon the forbearance and assistance of all the people in the discharge of my solemn responsibilities.”

Next, this quote is from his second Inaugural address on March 4, 1901:

Intrusted by the people for a second time with the office of President, I enter upon its administration appreciating the great responsibilities which attach to this renewed honor and commission, promising unreserved devotion on my part to their faithful discharge and reverently invoking for my guidance the direction and favor of Almighty God.”

He famously said this in an August 1899 speech:
“Piety and patriotism go well together. Love of flag, love of country, are not inconsistent with our religious faith; and I think we have more love for our country and more people love our flag than ever before.”

Finally, these are reported to be his last words:
“Good-bye all, good-bye. It is God’s way. His will, not ours, be done.”

William McKinley Assassination

 

Richard Nixon Gerald Ford

On this day in 1968, Richard Nixon receives the Republican Party nomination for the presidency. In November, of course, he goes on to win the election.

Ironically, also on August 8th, in 1974, President Nixon announces his resignation “effective at noon tomorrow.”
Facing impeachment “because of the Watergate matter” he said he wanted to “put the interest of America first.”

As a result, Vice President Gerald Ford is sworn in as President shortly thereafter.

Richard Nixon was the first American president to resign. In his televised, evening address to the American people he quoted Theodore Roosevelt as he recounted his decades in public service during what he rightly deemed “the turbulent history of [that] era”:

“Sometimes I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, but always I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, “whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is not effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deed, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumphs of high achievements and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

He closed his address:
“To have served in this office is to have felt a very personal sense of kinship with each and every American. In leaving it, I do so with this prayer: May God’s grace be with you in all the days ahead.”

“Justice Without Mercy”

President Ford pardoned Nixon, and in doing so, reminded us: we are a nation under God, so I am sworn to uphold our laws with the help of God. And I have sought such guidance and searched my own conscience with special diligence to determine the right thing for me to do with respect to my predecessor in this place, Richard Nixon, and his loyal wife and family.
Theirs is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must.”

He added:
“I do believe, with all my heart and mind and spirit, that I, not as President but as a humble servant of God, will receive justice without mercy if I fail to show mercy.

Richard Nixon Gerald Ford