Presidents Day: Thanks, George!

By Michael Remas
   He never saw an automobile, viewed cable television or shopped at the mall, yet if it weren’t for George Washington, do you realize you’d have to pay full, suggested retail price for almost everything you purchase this time of year? No Lie!
   I’m not going into detailed explanation about this for it was something that you learned in grade school – mainly that General Washington crossed the Delaware River under freezing conditions back in 1776. Who knew it would link his name in history with someone’s sales days.
   You remember the famed saying — “Father of Our Great American White Sale,” followed in popularity only by that adage, “First in war, first in peace and first to offer you this tremendous value at great savings.”
   Some historians credit those tributes to an anonymous colonial merchant. This February marks another anniversary of the general’s birth, and while some organizations will pay homage to Washington as patriot, war hero and first president, they will be overshadowed by those remembering him via newspaper and internet ads and broadcast commercials promoting “Washington Sales Days” of wares available at, what else, “revolutionary savings.”
Time To ‘Save’
   So, while some kids will be allowed off from school and various governmental offices will close to mark Presidents Day on behalf of all presidents, the rest of the country will be offered a “savings” on everything from powdered wigs and false teeth to cherry pies and row boats.
   With the cost of everything so high these days, we should all be thankful for a super salesman such as Washington (as well as Lincoln, who does his bit to push sales), whose birthdate is annually promoted as a time to grab a bargain before they’re all gone.
   He’s no business match for Santa in December, of course, but you have to hand it to the general for helping turn the month of February into valuable promotion days for modern merchants.
   Gosh, for such patriotic loyalty in helping mind the nation’s business, it’s no wonder the government has seen fit to put his likeness on so much of our money, both coin and currency. No wonder people painted all those famous portraits of him and named all those cities, towns, boroughs, parks, universities, bridges, streets, schools, political dinners and even a state after the man.
   Now I can understand why the Continental Congress wanted to name him a king rather than as first president (of course, he refused this idea — he didn’t fight a revolution against a king to become a king) and why he is fully remembered at Valley Forge National Historical Park.
   Helps The Lottery
   It explains why the Pennsylvania lottery uses his head as a symbol of trust for a game that has astronomical odds against winning. Why, even Penn National racetrack in the Keystone State uses Washington in its ads. Well, he was an expert horseman!
   Indeed, the man must have been as brave as legend tells us, heroically lending his name to advertising the economy and rising prices for all these years.
   One wonders what Washington’s view might be of the multitude of promotions in his name. Would he agree that they’re a good idea to help business — or flip his wig? After all, the Father of Our Country could not tell a lie.

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