I was scheduling meetings and appointments on my calendar and noticed that Presidents’ Day was coming up. When I was growing up, one of the reasons I loved the month of February is we had two days off school- Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday on the 12th and George Washington’s Birthday on the 22nd. We would actually get both days off-best news ever to a young student!
As I researched the history of Presidents’ Day, I found various explanations and dates. An early attempt to legislate Presidents’ Day as a day to honor the office of Presidency failed. And, even though Lincoln’s birthday was never a Federal holiday, it appears the big push to combine Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthday celebrations was instigated by advertisers; this time surrounding the third Monday in February became known for the big sales held by businesses. Today there are several states that don’t celebrate Presidents’ Day and have their own days to honor George Washington and other important figures in American history.
I remember coloring ditto sheets of a young George Washington and the cherry tree. The story goes that young George chopped down his father’s favorite cherry tree and when asked about it he replied, “I cannot tell a lie; it was I.” As a young girl I remember thinking that George Washington had been a man of bravery and integrity; both traits emerged when he served his country as the first President of the United States and as the commander-in-chief for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. According to Wikipedia, “at his death, Washington was hailed as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen”.”
For those states that do celebrate the combined birthday celebrations of two outstanding American Presidents, we must not forget about the life of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He is famous for his efforts to abolish slavery with his Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. According to Wikipedia, “his Gettysburg Address of 1863 became the most quoted speech in American history.” As a young girl, the story of Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth at the Ford’s Theatre, added both suspense and sadness to his story.
Both of these former Presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, have a long list of contributions to our history and heritage. I hope you will take some time this month to read accounts of their lives and Presidencies. We honor and thank them for their service to our country. Happy Birthday, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln!
Please share some great stories about your own thoughts surrounding such a historical day.