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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 after forty-five years of service to his country two years earlier.

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

 

John F. Kennedy Except the Lord

John F. Kennedy Except the Lord
On this day in 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through Dallas, Texas. He was the fourth U.S. president to be assassinated.

Words from the speeches he was unable to deliver are helpful yet today.

“Ancient vision” and “Our hopes for the future”

First, an excerpt of remarks he was to give later that day to the Texas Democratic State Committee in Austin:

“So let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake. Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause–united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future–and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.”

President Kennedy was going to the Trade Mart to speak to the Dallas Citizens Council when he was assassinated. The following is a portion of that undelivered speech:

“We, in this country, in this generation, are — by destiny rather than by choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: “except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain.”

Finally, the next day, President Lyndon B. Johnson “appoint[ed] November 25, the day of the funeral service of President Kennedy, to be a national day of mourning…” He said, “I earnestly recommend the people to assemble on that day in their respective places of divine worship, there to bow down in submission to the will of Almighty God, and to pay their homage of love and reverence to the memory of a great and good man.”

 

John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame

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 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

On this day in 1927, the work of carving and sculpting the Mount Rushmore National Memorial begins. The project was declared complete on October 31, 1941.

The iconic granite sculpture, attracts millions annually to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

According to sculptor Gutzon Borglum, “The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.”

With that stated purpose in mind, what follows is a ‘Mount Rushmore’ of quotes from the aforementioned presidents. Two of these quotes adorn Our Lost Founding shirts:

George Washington
“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.”

Thomas Jefferson
“I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessities and comforts of life, who has covered our infancy with His Providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power

Abraham Lincoln
“In regard to this Great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”

Theodore Roosevelt
“Every thinking man, when he thinks, realizes that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally impossible for us to figure ourselves what life would be if these standards were removed.”

 

Finally, here is your humble Our Lost Founding Founder at our National Memorial:

 

Me at Mount Rushmore, Summer 2019

Proclamation of Thanksgiving - Abraham Lincoln

On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issues a Presidential Proclamation inviting the American people “to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving.

The invitation was much like President George Washington’s Proclamation on January 1, 1795 recommending “all persons whomsoever, within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the nineteenth day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.

The Proclamations are short and rich, so the text of each follows, first Lincoln’s:

“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans. mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.”

 

Proclamation of Thanksgiving - Abraham Lincoln

 

Now, Washington’s:

“When we review the calamities, which afflict so many other nations, the present condition of the United States affords much matter of consolation and satisfaction. Our exemption hitherto from foreign war – an increasing prospect of the continuance of that exemption – the great degree of internal tranquility we have enjoyed – the recent confirmation of that tranquility by the suppression of an insurrection which so wantonly threatened it – the happy course of public affairs in general – the unexampled prosperity of all classes of our citizens; are circumstances which peculiarly mark our situation with indications of the Divine beneficence towards us. In such a state of things it is, in an especial manner, our duty as people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experience.

Deeply penetrated with this sentiment, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States, to set apart and observe Thursday, the nineteenth day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer: and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation. particularly for the possession of constitutions of government which unite and, by their union, establish liberty with order; for the preservation of peace, foreign and domestic; and for the seasonable control, which has been given to a spirit of disorder, in the suppression of the late insurrection; and generally for the prosperous course of our affairs, public and private; and, at the same time, humbly and fervently to beseech the kind Author of these blessings. graciously to prolong them to us – to imprint on our hearts a deep and solemn sense of our obligations to Him for them – to teach us rightly to estimate their immense value – to preserve us from the arrogance of prosperity and from hazarding the advantages we enjoy by delusive pursuits – to dispose us to merit the continuance of His favors by not abusing them, by our gratitude for them, and by a correspondent conduct as citizens and as men – to render this country, more and more, a propitious asylum for the unfortunate of other countries – to extend among us true and useful knowledge – to diffuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, morality, and piety – and, finally, to impart all blessings we possess or ask for ourselves, to the whole family of mankind.

In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States of America, to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with my hand. Done, at the city of Philadelphia, the first day of January, 1795, and of the independence of the United States of America, the nineteenth.
Go Washington,
President of the United States

EDMUND RANDOLPH, Secretary of State.”

John F. Kennedy United Nations

On this day in 1963, President John F. Kennedy addresses the UN General Assembly with his proposal for a joint mission to the moon.

His suggestion for “new cooperation” surprised Soviets and Americans alike. Though, as he said,
“[s]pace offers no problems of sovereignty.”

Kennedy went on:
“The contest will continue–the contest between those who see a monolithic world and those who believe in diversity–but it should be a contest in leadership and responsibility instead of destruction, a contest in achievement instead of intimidation. Speaking for the United States of America, I welcome such a contest. For we believe that truth is stronger than error–and that freedom is more enduring than coercion. And in the contest for a better life, all the world can be a winner.

I know that some of you have experienced discrimination in this country. But I ask you to believe me when I tell you that this is not the wish of most Americans–that we share your regret and resentment — and that we intend to end such practices for all time to come, not only for our visitors, but for our own citizens as well.

Too often a project is undertaken in the excitement of a crisis and then it begins to lose its appeal as the problems drag on and the bills pile up. But we must have the steadfastness to see every enterprise through.

Let us complete what we have started. For “No man who puts his hand to the plow and looks back,” as the Scriptures tell us, “No man who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.”

Additionally, let us, as united Americans, renew our cooperation, on the strength of truth. Then, we can continue the work to fulfill the lofty vision Our Founders had for Our Republic.

John F. Kennedy United Nations

9/11

On this day, September 12, 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 18 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 today’s Presidential Proclamation — Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, 2019:

“On Patriot Day, we solemnly remember the nearly 3,000 people who perished on September 11, 2001.  With gratitude, we honor the brave first responders, resolute members of our military, and ordinary Americans who showed extraordinary courage to save others on that fateful day.  We will always be grateful for the heroic men and women of our Armed Forces who fought in defense of our country in the aftermath of the largest terrorist attack on American soil, and we will never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our liberty and freedom.

Our prayers will continue for the survivors who still bear physical and emotional wounds and for the families who lost loved ones.  We also pray for the members of our Armed Forces who risk their lives in service to our country and for the first responders who work tirelessly to ensure the safety of others.  Today, let us remember that our Union — forged and strengthened through adversity — will never be broken and that the immeasurable sacrifices of our patriots will never be forgotten.”

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 to be 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