Long ago, before hipsters walked around with cell phones twittering in their hands and dinosaurs walked the Earth, merry bands of Europeans came to America in search of a new life. Some sought riches in the New World. Some sought freedom from the Old World. But as often happens, both riches and freedom were curtailed as time went on. We demanded our liberty and freedom be respected, and when it was denied, we rebelled. We fought.

General Washington led us. Through good times and bad, in bloody summers and freezing winters, he gave one inch of his life at a time. And when our freedom was secured, he retired and went home. But out first attempt at governing ourselves failed. America was collapsing, and so General Washington accepted the position of President Washington under a new Constitution. He is the only President to march with the army when it went out into the field, and his mere presence ended the conflict before weapons were fired. He stepped down after two terms, a precedent followed by every President but one until the two-term limit was made part of the Constitution.

Many say that without George Washington we would not exist as a country. That he was one of those cornerstone individuals around whom history rotates. Perhaps that is true. Or perhaps we venerate him too much. Perhaps another General could have led our armies against the British. Perhaps another President could have held us together in our greatest moment of fractured identity as a young nation. Perhaps.

But I know one thing. It was George Washington who did it. And today is the Federal Holiday celebrating his birth. So I say this. Thank you, Mister President, for helping to create the nation I have grown up in. The nation I love.