The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 13, 2003


Who was president?

Have you noticed, that in the days since September 11, and during the recent war in Iraq, just how patriotic we suddenly seem to be? Flags are flying, yellow ribbons abound, and people seem to be in a revived state of "God and Country."

We live in a historic part of the country, but just how much do we actually know about our recent history? For instance, who was president when you were born? What about when your parents and grandparents, or even your own children were born? I asked myself these questions, and here is what I learned.

I was born when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president. So were most of my siblings, cousins, and everyone who was in grade school and high school, either ahead or behind me. FDR was there for a long time, and the president question was an easy one at that time. Interestingly enough, both of my parents and my husband's parents and their siblings were born under Theodore Roosevelt. One charged up San Juan Hill, and the other contended with World War II.

My children were born during Lyndon Johnson's and Richard Nixon's terms of office. My father's parents were born in 1882 and 1883 under Chester Arthur, and I don't know what he did. My mother's father was born during the term of Andrew Johnson, the next president after Abraham Lincoln. My youngest brother-in-law was born while Harry Truman was president.

My mother's mother was born in 1870 during Ulysses S. Grant's time, and we all know about him and his role in the Civil War. This grandmother, born in 1870, raised my brothers and me. Her father was born in 1805, during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. Imagine, knowing someone whose father was born when Thomas Jefferson was our third president and one of the writers of the Constitution. Doesn't that show just how short the history of our country is?

My husband's grandparents were born during Grover Cleveland's, Benjamin Harrison's, and Rutherford B. Hayes' ascendancy. Again, I don't know what happened during those presidencies, but I am interested enough to do a little research about them.

Some people think that history is boring, but I think that if you can relate history to your own family then history can become real. It's more interesting if you can know what you are being patriotic about, and not just concentrate on the events of today or the recent yesterday. Yes, fly our flags, and honor our troops, but let's be aware of our whole proud history.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito