What will be your legacy, your defining moment?
What are the differentiators that set otherwise ordinary people on a path to fame and greatness? What determines why others will labor in relative anonymity while still making an enormous difference?
Paths to Greatness
In honor of Presidents Day let’s glimpse into the lives of three beloved presidents. I thought it would also be interesting for you to see the classic prize winning roses named to honor them. You may have been wondering about why all the resurgence of popularity of Abraham Lincoln. When we distill it down, its easy to see why President Lincoln will stand the test of time. Considered America’s wisest American president, American presidents continue to emulate Lincoln’s benevolent style of leadership rather than choose an authoritarian method. Abraham Lincoln is the most quoted American president. Lincoln is a role model for modern society because leadership and integrity never go out of style. What could be more valiant or brilliant a strategy for a developing nation than to support The Homestead Act allowing poor people in the east to obtain land in the West thereby guaranteeing a way for people to become self-sufficient and a country to expand and prosper. He rose to the top through sheer hard work and a driving ambition. Did you know Abraham Lincoln was almost entirely self-educated? He spent less than 12 months attending schools in the frontier as a youth yet he became and still is one of the most honored and celebrated of our American presidents.
Here’s a re-cap of Abraham Lincoln’s Greatest Accomplishments:
1. Preserved the United States as one nation during the Civil War
2. Issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which allowed black soldiers to fight for the Union and later the Thirteenth amendment that formally ended slavery in the United States
3. Signed into law the Homestead Act, the Morrill Act, and the first transcontinental railroad.
4. Gave his most famous speeches which include: the House Divided Speech, the Cooper Union Address, the First Inaugural Address, the Gettysburg Address, and the Second Inaugural Address.
President Lincoln as one of our most respected presidents we present you with a single red rose the ultimate symbol of admiration and respect.
Mr. Lincoln, photo by Chris Van Cleave
President John F. Kennedy
“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country.”
We can all visualize the young John F. Kennedy with his distinct clipped Massachusetts accent saying these words in our mind. They still inspire and move us to action this very day. You know the quote by heart as will your children and your children’s children.
Is there a more poignant picture than the picture of John-John saluting the coffin of his father in a final good-by to his father? The young first family was beloved by all America and stays in our hearts to this very day.
President Kennedy’s Greatest Accomplishments:
- Asked Congress to create the Peace Corps
- Calling his domestic program the “New Frontier,” to impede the recession he implemented federal funding for education, medicare, economic aid to rural areas
- Kennedy brought interest rates down to get the economy growing
As a symbol of the innocence and purity that was lost in your passing, in sympathy and humility we humbling offer the beautiful white rose named to salute you, that continues to flourish in gardens all across America in your honor today, John F. Kennedy.
John F. Kennedy, Hybrid Tea, photo by Dr. Tommy Cairns, author of The Ultimate Rose Book published 2007 Abrams, NY
President George Washington
Known as one of the Founding Fathers of the Country, George Washington was the first President of the United States of America. He became president to a new country that was not very stabilized, and was able to maintain independence from Britain and form a new nation. As a great leader with a strong belief system he created the First Cabinet and appointed four members. He also created the Supreme Court and appointed ten justices. Washington also assisted with the creation of the first bank, when he signed the bill once it passed Congress.
President George Washington’s Greatest Accomplishments:
- First President of the United States “Father of His Country”
- Fought in Virginia Militia on the British side in the “French and Indian Wars ,” (17764-1763)
- Commanded Armies of the US Colonies in the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Signed the Declaration of Independence
- Established the framework for an executive branch in named in his honor Washington , D.C.
As an expression of our appreciation and deep gratitude we offer the old garden rose General Washington in your memory.
Photo by Susan Mooney, special thanks to Beth Smiley Director & Managing Editor of The American Rose Magazine for her assistance
“(My father) stood behind a bar in the back of the room all those years, so one day I could stand behind a podium in the front of a room. That journey, from behind that bar to behind this podium, goes to the essence of the American miracle — that we’re exceptional not because we have more rich people here. We’re special because dreams that are impossible anywhere else, come true here.” — Marco Rubio
What will be your legacy? Where a person comes from shapes who he becomes.
Senator Rubio’s father is the un-sung hero in his story. I believe most heros in America are un-sung heros. You don’t have to be an American president to make a great contribution. Un-sung heros make up the underpinnings, and the true foundation of American life. The mothers, fathers, teachers, students, grandfathers, grandmothers, doctors, nurses, factory workers, great kids, and on and on who sacrifice and work supporting their families so their children, brothers, sisters, can do more and be more than perhaps they were ever able to achieve.
What ever you do, just give it your whole heart
Each year the NFL awards the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. This award is given to the player for his contributions on and off the field.
This year the award was given to tight end Jason Witten. Witten had to overcome unbelievable odds as a neglected child of an abusive father who become a true champion on and off the field. More than performing on the gridiron, the winner of this award gives back to his community.
Jason Witten, according to Art Stricklin of DigiMag RRD Sports Spectrum, was a guided Star by his grandfather Dave Rider. Dave Rider is a quiet man who Jason Witten gives all the credit to for his success right after God. Witten as he accepted the highly coveted Walter Peyton Man of The Year Trophy said that his grandfather taught him how to become the man he is today.
Who is your un-sung hero? Are you quietly working and striving every day to become an un-sung hero? I know there’s been someone that’s made it possible for you to be who you are today and will probably continue to do so. It’s never to late to be a hero. What can you do to leave a quiet legacy? Or walk the paths of an American president or take the path of the millions of people making a significant contribution somewhere in-between a president and a quiet un-sung hero.
I know everytime I hear Wind Beneath My Wings I think of the selfless sacrifice of those who assisted me every step of the way and I can’t help but shed a tear for their sacrifice for me.