Monday is “President’s Day,” the February holiday that allows us to remember and honor the service of all of our US Presidents, but particularly George Washington (1st) and Abraham Lincoln (16th), whose leadership and courage helped to establish and then save the United States.

President’s Day is an annual opportunity for us to reflect on how our “chief executive” impacts living here in the home of the brave. It celebrates our process of selecting a President through democratic means rather than living in a monarchy or other form of government. It affirms the practice—urged by George Washington himself—that we elect leadership for a specific term of service rather than for life.

Implicitly, President’s Day highlights the importance of leadership in government and the special skills required of the one who governs—not through direct order and control, but through consensus and collaboration.

President’s Day lets us look back more than two hundred years over the history of our nation. From this perspective we can more readily see that it takes time to build a great nation and to create the environment for growth and security that we all seek—and that there will always be difficulties to confront in achieving our national goals.

Because President’s Day brings into focus the leadership of extraordinary individuals like Washington and Lincoln, it reminds us that civic leadership requires integrity and honesty, and that, at its best, it sets a high standard for each of us as we seek to understand the service and sacrifice sought from every citizen.

As we enjoy a long weekend with those we love, let us remember with gratitude those who have led our country through good times and bad—and whose legacy calls each of us to cherish and serve this country.