On this day we celebrate the Presidents of the United States, perhaps the most powerful person in the world with the most difficult job in the world.
The carving on the White House mantelpiece reads: "May none but honest and wisemen rule under this roof."
"Being President is like being a jackass in a hailstorm," said 36th President Lyndon Johnson. "You just have to stand there and take it."
Through history, hundreds have sought the office, which is a test of strength, skill, and courage. "We shouldn't elect a President," observed humorist Will Rogers. "We should elect a magician."
The President has come in all shapes and sizes. Abraham Lincoln (16th) was our tallest, at 6'4", James Madison (4th) our smallest at 5'4", and William Howard Taft (27th) our biggest at 340 pounds. Ronald Reagan (40th) was our oldest, nearly 70 when he started his first term; Theodore Roosevelt (26th) the youngest at 42.
Andrew Johnson (17th) was illiterate at 18, his bride taught him to read and write. Both Jimmy Carter (39th) and John Kennedy (35th) understood and read 2,000 words a minute. Richard Nixon was an accomplished pianist. Herbert Hoover (31st) loved to fly fish.
What the President does matters. Teddy Roosevelt, who liked to hunt, once refused toshoot a bear cub. His refusal inspired a political cartoon, which inspired a new toy, named the Teddy Bear. "No President has ever enjoyed himself as much as I have enjoyed myself," he said.
Dwight Eisenhower (34th), after living with all the world watching, thought otherwise: "Oh, that lovely title, ex-president."
More PRESIDENTIAL Quotations
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