Today is the Presidents Day holiday in the United States. Many people consider the President of the United States to be the most powerful leader in the world. That likely is because the United States is considered by many to be the most powerful country in the world.
Whether it is true or not that the USA is the most powerful country in the world, there is a great responsibility that comes with the power of being president.
The POTUS, as the president is sometimes referred to, is viewed as an important figure. Although the history of the United States is not as lengthy as some countries, this great experiment in democracy has lasted nearly 250 years. Every four years there is an election held to determine the leader.
I've been thinking about the perspective that comes with living long enough to note a number of individuals who have held this office.
I was born in 1955, so that means Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, Trump and now Biden.
Viewing my life through that particular lens of history reveals more than the daily drama we often experience surrounding our American Presidents.
At the time of writing this post our oldest living former president, Jimmy Carter, now 98, has gone into home hospice. Surrounded by family members and loved ones, he will soon pass on.
Carter only served one term. But his legacy is a great one, mainly for all the things he and his life-long partner, Rosalynn, have accomplished in the many years since Jimmy Carter left office.
They have both lived a life of service. They have helped those in need and worked hard to preserve democracy both in the United States and around the world. Carter was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.
There has been a great divisiveness in the "land of the free and home of the brave" the past few years. But it is not the first time.
More than 150 years ago our country was nearly ripped apart by a civil war. The president at that time was not as widely respected then as he is now. His burden was very great and when the war between the states ended he felt it important to begin a healing process. History has judged Abraham Lincoln to be one of the greatest presidents.
Presidents come and go and the legacy they leave is there for the viewing. The best ones, in my opinion, are those who tried to do the right thing, especially in times of moral dilemma, and who recognized that as leaders their responsibility was to lead and not to rule.
Perhaps there is a lesson in that for us all.