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A day to reflect and give thanks

Today is Presidents Day, and it should be a chance to reflect, to honor and to give thanks.

It should be an opportunity to remember that while our president changes every four or eight years, our democracy continues to set a standard that is the envy of the rest of the world. The office itself always has served as testament to the peaceful transfer of power, even when that concept has been met with extraordinary challenges, and to the symbol of leadership that resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C.

The holiday is the combination of days that originally had been set aside to honor Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, but has become much more — it’s a chance to remember each of the individuals who has held the office, and the sacrifices they and their families have been willing to make to ensure our country’s institutions continue to function in an orderly manner, even when those institutions have confronted tests that few could hardly have imagined.

That’s something that we all too easily take for granted, especially in an age when constant criticism has become the norm.

Certainly, one of the most important freedoms we enjoy as Americans is the right to disagree with and question our politicians. Many of us are more than willing to freely exercise that right. Just ask our current president, Joe Biden, or the men who held the office before him — Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

And, while we acknowledge that your perceptions of whoever sits in the White House at any given time are certainly determined by where you fall on the political spectrum, we ask that you take a moment to reflect on the presidency itself.

It has only been a few months since we experienced one of the most divisive campaigns in our country’s history. Yet when Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20, we were able to witness the power of the presidency and the opportunity it offers to affect not only the United States but the world, something we watch in appreciation every four years.

It’s a reminder that the office and what its stands for always has been bigger than any person who has ever held it, and stronger than any person or group who has ever attacked it.

That’s the lesson we hope everyone learns today.

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