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February 19, 2011

This Monday, Americans will celebrate President’s Day. For many this is a day off from work, and an opportunity for great shopping deals, and for time with the family. We should not forget just what is celebrated this day, which the Presidents were, what they accomplished, and what they risked.

It is a celebration of Leadership, that defining character of the great and noble. It is the celebration of those who, when faced with a challenge, did not shirk, did not pass the burden on to another, but embraced it. These men braved the greatest trials our nation has endured, and inspired those around them to greatness and honor. From Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg to Washington’s steadfast refusal to seize power for personal gain, these men led their nation from the brink of disaster in fulfillment of its great promise.

On this day, remember not just those leaders who have graced the White House and the nation’s executive office; remember all those who take on the mantle of leadership. Remember the doctors and teachers, the sailors and soldiers, the astronauts and parents guiding this nation, and the entire world forward. These are the men and woman who run into the fire when lives are at stake, it is the people who risk their lives, their fortune, and their well-being for what is right. These are the people who dedicate themselves to created and preserving a better world for all. They are selfless and dedicated; they protect, and nurture, an they guide those around them to greatness. Leadership exists every day, all around us, and must be celebrated and recognized.

Leadership is not just a title, not an office, or a collection of responsibilities. It is not always recorded in the annals of history, it is not always preserved in monument and song; but its legacy will always live on. The effect of Lincoln, of Washington, Kennedy, Roosevelt and all the others endures; their ideals and struggles resound through the ages. In the same way, each of us has the opportunity to effect change every bit as lasting and significant. Will your actions today inspire those around you? Will they solve a great riddle, or overcome an obstacle? Will they show someone the way, and will you plant the seed of leadership in someone else today?

Monday is President’s Day. Make sure it is a celebration of leadership in all its forms, and make sure that the great work of all those who have come before is carried on.

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