We asked our staff, “Presidents Day is coming in February. Which president’s story do you find most inspiring?” See which presidential journeys inspire us.
Ronald Reagan is the first president I can remember from my childhood and the one I still find most inspiring because he brought a peaceful end to the Cold War. We lived in Germany for four years just prior to him becoming president and visited both East and West Berlin. The contrast between the two cities was striking. West Berlin was prosperous and lively. East Berlin had armed soldiers everywhere, was dark and crumbling and the people seemed depressed. Seeing Communism firsthand definitely shaped how I view the world today, and Reagan’s historic “tear down this wall” speech — and the wall finally coming down two years later — impacted me greatly as a child.
— Kelly Tyner,director of sales and marketing
I’d have to say George Washington for the fact that he was the first man to run this country. It takes a lot of guts to lead an entire group of people against an army. Then to win and be the first one elected president is something that will always be inspiring to me.
— Kyle Anderson, account manager
Growing up from where I’m from, you don’t see many minority males in prominent positions. To be finishing college and to witness Barack Obama becoming the leader of the free world was such a huge deal for me and many minorities. It helped us to truly believe in our hearts that we could become anything. I saw grown adults in my community brought to tears because they never thought they’d see that day. That’s why he is the most inspiring to me.
— Daniel Jean-Louis, account manager
I’m fascinated by the men who were thrust into the presidency by forces beyond their control. Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman and Gerald Ford never expected to be presidents — Coolidge was sworn in by his father, a justice of the peace, in the middle of the night after the sudden death of Warren G. Harding. But when national events thrust the duty upon them, they all rose to calling, steering the country through incredibly difficult situations. Though they haven’t all gone down in history as great presidents, I’ll always admire their willingness to step up to the challenges of a job they never sought.
— Brian Jewell, executive editor
I love Theodore Roosevelt’s story. He overcame poor health and grief to become a great president who listened to the people and worked to better our country trough policies that helped the U.S. population rather than the political factions and monopolies that were rampant at the time. He was also role model to another great president, his nephew by marriage and distant cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
— Ashley Ricks, graphic designer and circulation manager
I’ll take Harry Truman. I’ve been to his boyhood home in tiny Lamar, Missouri, and I’m more impressed by those who start with very little than by those born into wealth. He became president upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt and served our country during the immediate aftermath of World War II. Harry Truman understood that alliances were important to America and the countries of Western Europe following that war. He understood the lives that America and Europe sacrificed during those years to preserve democracy. He worked to establish NATO, an alliance that has stood the test of time for 70 years. He had his faults, I’m sure, but I’m not interested in debating them.
— Mac Lacy, publisher