Hail The Chiefs
With Washington and Lincoln, we once honored their birthdays,
but then decided all the chiefs deserved a holiday.
So not to be contrary, we did what was necessary.
And now every February we hail the chiefs on President's Day.
George Washington became the first in 1789.
In leadership, he was well-versed in 1789.
His military contribution helped to win the revolution.
And so he launched an institution in 1789.
A president gave a proclamation in 1863
that cried out for emancipation in 1863.
Abraham Lincoln would proclaim that slavery was the nation's shame;
remarks that earned eternal fame in 1863.
Wilson started his second term in 1917.
On peace, his stand had remained firm till 1917.
But when the U-boats made their stand, (on U.S. ships could not withstand) ,
then peace received a countermand in 1917.
FDR's term would begin in 1933
the second Roosevelt to get in by 1933.
Attacking the job with utter zeal, he proved to us he was for real
by showing us a brand new deal in 1933.
Truman took his boss's place in 1945.
The top position he'd embrace in 1945.
As president he showed no fear, and to us all he made it clear
that no matter what "the buck stops here" in 1945.
John Kennedy would take the helm in 1961
and so began a brand new realm in 1961.
With his wife Jackie and their tots, he'd ask of us that we "ask not…"
And the White House became Camelot in 1961
Richard Nixon was sworn in in 1969.
His term of office would begin in 1969.
A chief that many loved to hate, while others saw him as first rate.
But none could foresee Watergate in 1969.
Air traffic controllers staged a coup in 1981.
And Ronald Reagan said take a hike in 1981.
Twelve thousand strikers would be canned which brought about a huge demand.
But the president showed he'd take a stand in 1981.
A president would be impeached in 1998
for laws and rules that had been breached in 1998.
But Clinton proved a stalwart foe who showed us he was not a schmo,
and the White House put on quite a show in 1998.
And now we honor presidents for better or for worse.
Each one had those who loved him and then those who were averse.
But one thing that can't be forgot whether they were admired or not.
Be it Teapot Dome or Camelot, we hail the chiefs on Presidents.
William Chaplar's Other Poems
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- If, Rudyard Kipling
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
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- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
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- A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
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- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost