Happy Presidents Day!
Facts About Presidents Day
–Officially Called Washington’s Birthday – The federal holiday known as Presidents Day is not officially called Presidents’ Day. Instead, it is called Washington’s Birthday. February 18 is a federal holiday honoring George Washington’s birthday. In 1885, Chester A. Arthur signed the bill that made the third Monday in February a federal holiday called George Washington’s Birthday. People had already been celebrating Washington’s birthday since before his death. Yet so many people had qualms with Lincoln getting stiffed in the recognition department that the day became commonly known as Presidents Day and the celebration usually honored them both.
–Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday is Not a Federal Holiday– Most states celebrate Lincoln’s birthday with Washington’s but it is not a recognized holiday.
–Annual Reading of Washington’s Farewell Address – On February 22nd of almost every year since 1888, Washington’s Farewell Address has been read in the US Senate. While this does not happen on Presidents’ Day, it is an annual celebration of Washington’s Birthday that stems from 1862 when the Address was read as a way to boost morale during the Civil War. This address was and is so important because it warns of political factionalism, geographical sectionalism, and interference by foreign powers in the nation’s affairs. Washington stressed the importance of national unity over sectional differences.
-Abraham Lincoln and George Washington share the same birth month. Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, while Washington was born on February 22, 1732. But while Honest Abe made some important contributions to our country’s history, the federal government never really saw him as Washington’s equal.