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Star Parker

Founder & President, Center for Urban Renewal and Education

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Opinion

George Washington is an inspiration for American holiday spirit

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Star Parker

Founder & President, Center for Urban Renewal and Education

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Significant events have occurred over the holiday season throughout American history. At the top of that list is Founding Father and first U.S. President George Washington leading American troops to an unlikely key victory in the Revolutionary War on Christmas night of 1776. Although Washington faced personal struggles during the holiday seasons, including the death of his stepson, he nonetheless continued the fight for a new America.

Straight Arrow News contributor Star Parker believes that Americans should be inspired by George Washington and how he persevered through difficult holidays to help raise and guide the newborn nation.

For much of his life, the holiday season was a time of action and hardship for President George Washington. When he was just eight years old, his home reportedly burnt down on Christmas Eve. The family took shelter in a detached kitchen.

In 1776, during one of the darkest moments of the American Revolution, Washington famously led his army across the Delaware River. The following Christmas, George Washington and his soldiers camped during the brutal winter at Valley Forge. 

Six years later, Washington would be greeted with another bittersweet Christmas. Even though he had just defeated [General Charles] Cornwallis and won the Revolutionary War, he and his wife Martha were mourning the death of their son, Jacky. Even though Jacky was through Martha’s first marriage, Washington had raised him through most of his life as his own son.

Yet, in the midst of all of this, George Washington would shock the world, resigning as commander-in-chief. 

What a novel idea. George Washington did something that was antithetical to centuries of humanity’s ambition and greed — he gave power back to the people.

Diving deep into the heart of the holiday season, there’s nothing quite like Christmas. There’s a reason it’s known as the most wonderful time of the year. 

At its core, Christmas is a celebration of faith and the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s a time to come together with loved ones.

It’s a time to reflect on the blessings we’ve received and renew our commitment to the values that make America exceptional — for those of us that live in America.

Exceptional in that we be responsible with our choices and we have freedom to choose.

So, as we celebrate, it’s essential to also reflect on the values that make our nation great.

Each year we seem to become more and more divided. 

Yet, this is the time that we must remind ourselves of the unifying power of faith. 

The message of Christmas transcends divisional, political lines, and it should. 

Like the famous Christmas day during World War 2, where soldiers on each side laid down their arms and joined together, rejoiced over a meal together – Christmas is a time to lay down our political swords.

E Pluribus Unum, our nation’s motto. Out of Many, One.

Christmas is a time to be one.

Our nation was founded on the principles of liberty and justice for all, and the spirit of Christmas serves as a powerful reminder that we are stronger when we are united. As we exchange gifts and share meals, let’s also exchange our grievances for understanding. 

And perhaps we can even exchange resentment for goodwill.

This Christmas, I’m going to remind myself continuously of a great American who embodied the spirit of Christmas and championed the ideals of faith and our nation’s founding.

And I think of what Christmas meant to him. And as I do, I can remind myself life is good in America.

For much of his life, the holiday season was a time of action and hardship for President George Washington.

When he was just eight years old, his home reportedly burnt down on Christmas Eve. The family took shelter in a detached kitchen.

In 1776, during one of the darkest moments of the American Revolution, Washington famously led his army across the Delaware River.

The following Christmas, George Washington and his soldiers camped during the brutal winter at Valley Forge. 

Six years later, Washington would be greeted with another bittersweet Christmas. Even though he had just defeated Cornwallis and won the Revolutionary War, he and his wife Martha were mourning the death of their son, Jacky. Even though Jacky was through Martha’s first marriage, Washington had raised him through most of his life as his own son.

Yet, in the midst of all of this, George Washington would shock the world – resigning as commander-in-chief. 

What a novel idea. George Washington did something that was antithetical to centuries of humanity’s ambition and greed – he gave power back to the people.

Washington left to rejoin his home and his family. Two days later they celebrated Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ.

Finally, during the holiday season of 1799, George Washington was eager for the new year and the joy it would bring.

But instead, Washington would never see the new century nor how his new nation, this nation that he led into creation would fair. He died eleven days before Christmas. 

And what does that new nation look like today? That’s for us to decide. 

 

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