Today is President’s Day, the day we celebrate both George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays and the fact that we have a democratically elected president and not a king. I always treated it as a time to remember what we have fought for and what our forefather’s died for. It seems sometimes that the Liberty we enjoy is sometimes taken for granted: people don’t vote, people don’t get involved in politics, or write their Representative when they feel that they need their voice to be heard – or at least voice their opinion in the newspaper’s op-ed. I also think that education, both of our children and ourselves is a part of that liberty, because an educated mind is one that has the freedom to think for itself, to understand all of the issues and make an educated decision (either in the polling booth or elsewhere in our society).
I do think that it is important to fight for that freedom and that we all try to guard the things that contribute to our liberty: our education, our constitution, our right to free speech.
We are the Captains of our own liberty and the ones who take up the cause where Washington and Lincoln left off. Washington fought for our right to represent ourselves and Lincoln fought for our right to be equals in that fight.
I guess that’s why I picked this poem, as a salute to our fallen Captains and to we the people who pick the fight where they left off. This poem marches like a soldier and if you read it out loud makes you feel a bit patriotic. Another reason why I picked it.
O Captain, My Captain!
by Walt Whitman
O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up — for you the flag is flung for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.