This weekend, our country celebrates Presidents’ Day, a federal holiday often associated with retail sales and a much-anticipated long weekend. However, as a nation with a history so closely intertwined with the establishment of this high office, it is time we give this day its proper recognition and reflect upon our storied republic, while looking forward to progress and success.
The office of the president has a particularly special place in my heart. In 2007, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve in the Office of Political Affairs at the White House under President George W. Bush. Regardless of political preference, the chance to work under the chief executive of the best nation in the world is one that very few people get to experience. From there, I served as the Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne. These experiences have certainly influenced my political outlook and career path, but more than anything, they gave me the utmost respect for our president.
While Presidents’ Day began as a day to remember and commemorate one of our country’s greatest figures, President George Washington, over time it has shifted into a holiday that celebrates all of our presidents, past and present. Washington was our first president, but as one of the founding fathers who made the opportunity for the American people to elect their leaders possible, he championed the office of the presidency. Thus, this holiday serves as an opportunity to remember and honor all those who have committed themselves to one of the world’s most difficult jobs.
Perhaps even more importantly, the president does not merely serve as the head of our country, but rather, this office has also come to represent the values and ideals that we as Americans hold dear. Democracy, freedom, opportunity—these and more come to mind when we conceive of all that this office symbolizes. The leadership that the presidency provides regarding these principles is truly invaluable.
On this Presidents’ Day, I encourage you take a moment to reflect on what the presidency, and our country in general, mean to you. In an era of increasing political awareness, we each have a distinct perspective on the duties of our president, but despite differences, the office, and the individuals who have served in this esteemed role, deserve to be respected and remembered.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.