While the 16th president of the United States gets all the attention in this the 200th year of his birth, February 22nd is the 1st president of the United States' birthday, George Washington.
Historians love to go back and forth between Lincoln and Washington as either the first and second best of the 43 men that have served as president. I say at times it is difficult to chose who should get the top spot out of the two men. Lincoln did have to deal with a fractious nation literally divided between the North and the South.
However there would be no 16th president or road to the Civil War if it weren't for Washington. Washington was finished serving his country after leading the Continental Army to victory against the greatest power of the 18th Century, or so he thought.
The United States that we know and love today was far from a group of united States. Washington was president over a country that was nothing more than a collection of States. He was the chosen one to be the first president because he had commanded such respect and success in the American Revolution and the new federal government created out of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 established the office of the president. But it was Washington to established the role and traditions that would be followed for the decades that would follow.
Washington is seen everyday for those that still use paper and coin currency and that is really it. He is our first president and the Father of our country. His courage, leadership, devotion to duty, and ability to give up power should be an example to all the citizens of the United States. Because if it weren't for all that there would be no 16th president and there would more than likely be no United States.
Washington is and should always be "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."