Presidents Day has long been a time to reflect on the many achievements of the U.S.’ greatest leaders, thinkers and architects of democracy. Originally celebrated on Feb. 22 to coincide with the birthday of the country’s first head of state, George Washington, Presidents Day was later shifted to the third Monday in February, according to History.com.
The federal holiday often associated with sales and travel deals is also about patriotism and remembrance. As the country celebrates Presidents Day 2015, here are 15 inspiring things said by some of history’s most influential leaders, including George Washington, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Theodore Roosevelt. Their words rang true then and continue to ring true today.
On leadership: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -- John Quincy Adams, U.S. president from 1825 to 1829.
On facing challenges: “The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.” ― George Washington, U.S. president from 1789 to 1797.
On reaching your goals: “Accomplishment will prove to be a journey, not a destination.” -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. president from 1953 to 1961.
On teamwork: “I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.” -- Woodrow Wilson, U.S. president from 1913 to 1921.
On keeping a cool head: “Be patient and calm; no one can catch a fish with anger.” ― Herbert Hoover, U.S. president from 1929 to 1933.
On quality friendships: “Never waste a minute thinking about people you don’t like.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. president from 1953 to 1961.
On the basics: “Tell the truth, work hard, and come to dinner on time.” -- Gerald R. Ford, U.S. president from 1974 to 1977.
On confidence: “Believe that you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. president from 1901 to 1909.
On progress: “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” – Abraham Lincoln, U.S. president from 1861 to 1865.
On authority: “The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted." – James Madison, U.S. president from 1809 to 1817.
On the influence of friends: “A man is known by the company he keeps, and also by the company from which he is kept out." – Stephen Grover Cleveland, U.S. president from 1885 to 1889.
On perspective: "A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties." – Harry S. Truman, U.S. president from 1945 to 1953.
On change: "Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." – Barack Obama, current U.S. president since 2008.