Happy Washington’s Birthday!
When I decided to review the song “Letters to the President,” I initially wanted to wait until I could post it on Presidents’ Day. Then I realized that Presidents’ day will never fall on a Wednesday – it is always on a Monday. So I decided that posting it on Washington’s birthday was the next best thing!
Actually, I discovered that Presidents’ Day is the federal observance of – you guessed it – Washington’s Birthday!
I started looking into the background of Presidents’ Day when a friend mentioned that she had always associated Presidents’ Day with Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and that it hadn’t really occurred to her in the past that it included all presidents.
I had never really thought too deeply about it before, but realized that I had felt similarly – basically associating the holiday with our early presidents.
When I started looking it up, I realized that my friend was actually right about the holiday’s origins!
It turns out that the government decided it preferred to turn certain holidays into three-day weekends for its federal workers. It was therefore determined that Washington’s Birthday would be celebrated on the third Monday in February (which, ironically, never falls on Washington’s actual birthday).
Apparently, many used the date change to combine the celebrations of Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays. Some states choose to honor both Washington and Lincoln, others choose to honor Washington and certain other individuals, and other states do not officially recognize Presidents’ Day. Many people use it to honor all presidents collectively.
I initially found this information on Wikipedia.(1) Since I realize that Wikipedia is not typically the only source one should be using, I looked up some other sources as well. I found a brief but detailed explanation on Brittanica’s website(2) and a more in-depth history of the holiday on History.com.(3)
(I also learned that the state of Indiana apparently does not officially recognize Presidents’ Day, but recognizes Lincoln’s Birthday in November and Washington’s Birthday in December, which I think is a bit bizarre.)
Personally, I tend to think we ought to give Washington and Lincoln their own birthday holidays (ahem, on their actual birthdays), and if we want to add a separate day to honor all presidents (A.K.A. “Presidents’ Day”), so be it.
But I’m not sure that the government particularly cares about my opinion on the subject.
Perhaps I should write a letter to the President?
All right, history lesson over – on to the song!
“Letters to the President” was originally released by Hawk Nelson in 2004 on their album Letters to the President.
Apparently it is considered pop punk or punk rock. I don’t know much about those genres – all I know is it is fast-paced and upbeat with catchy guitars and drums. (I so love guitars and drums – have you noticed?)
The song is from the perspective of someone looking back on his school years and how they were mostly rather laid back.
It goes on to discuss how things have changed over time: Crime and immorality have grown and yielded devastating consequences, and justice and accountability do not seem to be served adequately or appropriately.
The singer’s strongest burden is centered around school situations, but he expresses various other concerns as well. He has clearly been longing for years to reach out to his government leaders regarding these various topics, but hasn’t felt brave enough.
The song ends with the singer making a commitment to begin speaking up and to at least “start with something.”
(Side note: For a long time I wondered why the song mentioned both “the President” and “Parliament” in the chorus. It turns out that Hawk Nelson is actually a Canadian band that sings about both Canadian and American themes. Mystery solved!)
Over the last several years, I have also been feeling more heavily our responsibility as Christians to share our viewpoints and convictions with our leaders. Though it does take time to be aware of current events and government decisions and to offer feedback to our leaders, it is time well spent.
Their job is to represent us – we need to let them know how we feel. And if they refuse to listen to us, we should do our best to vote them out!
It is time to be bold, to be strong, and to speak the truth out – respectfully. Never forget that God has commanded us to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4) and to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
So don’t be afraid! Seek the Lord’s direction, trust Him, and “start with something”!
Has God been leading you to be more involved in the political process? Let me know!
(Both the song “Letters to the President” and the full album Letters to the President are available for download in the US at ChristianBook.com.)
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Signing off until next week –
Rocking for Jesus with you!
“Presidents’ Day.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidents’_Day
“Presidents’ Day: United States holiday.” https://www.britannica.com/topic/Presidents-Day
“Presidents’ Day 2023.” https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/presidents-day